The Government is in discussions with the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), a subsidiary of the Inter-American Development Bank (IBD), to access US$10 million in funding to assist small hotels and medium-sized businesses that supply the tourism sector.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who met with officials from both institutions at the IDB’s Washington, D.C., headquarters on Tuesday, March 1, said “they were very pleased to indicate that they can in fact provide loans of up to US$10 million for small hotels and for medium sized entities in Jamaica that are interested in supplying goods and services that the tourism industry needs.”
He told JIS News that should the funding materialise, it would represent “a major breakthrough for entrepreneurship, and for involving more people in the supply side of the economic matrix in Jamaica.”
The IIC funding, he noted further, would complement the $100 million ‘Five for Five’ loan scheme for sole traders and small operators, which was recently launched by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
He said that Government has long been concerned about the need for suppliers of goods and services to increase their productivity to meet the demands of hotels and attractions and so reduce the “leakage of the earnings of tourism to the countries of the origin of the tourists.”
Mr. Bartlett told JIS News that his meeting at the IDB headquarters included discussions for funding for a number of tourism-related projects in Jamaica. Among the officials he met with were IDB Regional Director for the Caribbean, Dr. Richard Bernal; IIC Deputy General Manager, Steven Reed; and IIC Operations Director, John Becker.
Minister Bartlett and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Jennifer Griffith, arrived in Washington, D.C. on March 1 for a number of crucial meetings with key players in the global tourism industry, and to carry out duties related to his position as a member of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
While in Washington, Mr. Bartlett met with Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza as well as with Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin.
He also held talks with officials of the World Bank; UNWTO’s Regional Director for the Americas, Carlos Vogeler; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services in the US Department of Commerce with responsibility for tourism, Joel Secundy; and officials from the US Department of Homeland Security.
During the meetings, the Minister was accompanied by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks.
The Tourism Minister leaves the US capital on Sunday, March 6 for London, where he will meet with tour operators and other players in the tourism industry, from across the United Kingdom.
CONTACT: DERRICK A SCOTT
JIS INFORMATION ATTACHE