Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Government is working to establish Jamaica as a tourism supply hub that will serve the needs of the global industry, starting with human capital.
He said that the idea is to “build the capacity of our people to provide stackable credentials to enable mobility and portability”, which will enable them to seek job opportunities anywhere in the world.
“So you can become a sous-chef here, but you can become a sous-chef anywhere in the world because you qualify, and we train you right here in Jamaica,” he noted
Minister Bartlett was speaking at the opening ceremony for the virtual staging of the ‘Christmas in July’ Trade Show, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (July 23).
He said that part of the development of human capital is building skills in information and communications technology (ICT) to better enable people to take advantage of new opportunities that the industry provides.
He noted that persons must be equipped to “manipulate those systems, create software and to build marketing platforms, so that from Jamaica we can become big players in the industry across the world”.
“This is the kind of ambition that is going to drive the new tourism as we seek to go beyond the rooms,” he added.
Turning to the Christmas in July Trade Show, Mr. Bartlett said he is pleased with the “overwhelming response” to the 142 manufacturers and artisans who participated in the exhibition.
“This demonstrates the importance of the event, not just to the tourism sector but on a much larger scale, to the revival of the national economy at this time,” he said.
“Dare I say with all the gloom of COVID-19 (coronavirus), having a mid-year Christmas really is a welcome idea, and I think this one is truly special,” he noted.
The trade show is an opportunity for local producers of gifts and souvenir items to promote their products to alternative markets. Featured are locally produced gifts and souvenir items that will be available for purchase in December.
The products are in the category of art, fashion and accessories, processed foods, aromatherapy, and souvenirs such as desktop solutions and décor.
Christmas in July is a collaborative effort of the Tourism Linkages Network and its partners, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ).