- Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has outlined the five key pillars of the Government’s plan aimed generating further developments in tourism that will position the sector as major catalyst spurring Jamaica’s economic growth over the next five years.
- Mr. Bartlett said achieving growth in the industry will also depend on human resource development which he cited as pivotal in creating Jamaica’s destination assurance profile.
- The one-day orientation seminar was also addressed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Jennifer Griffith, and Corporate Governance Consultant, Dr Vindel Kerr.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has outlined the five key pillars of the Government’s plan aimed at generating further developments in tourism that will position the sector as major catalyst spurring Jamaica’s economic growth over the next five years.
These areas, he says, include: identifying new markets, new products, new investments and new partnerships, and embarking on human resource development.
“We want to have five percent (annual) growth…over the next five years…to put tourism at a point where you (consistently) have three million stopover (visitors) and you (are) earning (upwards of) US$5 billion,” the Minister states.
This, he argues, will increase the demand for goods and services to be provided locally, while “building out the absorptive capacity of Jamaicans to benefit from this demand.”
The Minister was addressing the newly appointed Board members of five of the entities falling under his portfolio, during an orientation seminar at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday, April 9.
Those attending represented the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB); Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF); Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC); and Devon House Limited.
In noting that “when tourism grows, the economy grows”, Mr. Bartlett cited Mexico and the Dominion Republic as examples of countries that have recorded significant success in this regard.
Both countries, he pointed out, have demonstrated how small entrepreneurs can become direct contributors to and beneficiaries of tourism alongside larger foreign investors.
As such, Mr. Bartlett underscored the need for Jamaican investors and entrepreneurs to position themselves as providers of the inputs to the industry, pointing out that they are “capable of putting together an experience that people would want (to partake of).”
While noting that the industry’s offerings were diverse, the Minister nonetheless acknowledged that some areas need be further developed in order to strengthen the tourism product and brand Jamaica.
“With new products, we will bring new players into the business…(and) new investments…naturally…follow new products; and where the money goes, the people follow. So investment is not just a tool to enhance capital formation, but it is also a marketing tool,” he argued.
As such, Mr. Bartlett said attention will be placed on strengthening existing markets, particularly in North America. He advised that major focus will be on the United States, where Jamaica currently only derives between 1.5 and 3.5 percent of its combined cruise ship and stopover visitor arrivals.
Additionally, Mr. Bartlett said the Government will be seeking to tap into new markets where the ‘passion points’ – or reasons for travel – are strong; as also where connectivity can be achieved through partnerships involving airlines, cruise lines, and tour operators, among other tourism stakeholders.
Mr. Bartlett said achieving growth in the industry will also depend on human resource development which he cited as pivotal in creating Jamaica’s destination assurance profile.
He explained that this will guarantee that the experience visitors derive for money spent is provided by a trained workforce that delivers above and beyond expectations.
Other key areas of focus for the Ministry, Mr. Bartlett further outlined, include: the establishment of a Tourism Hospitality School, and craft institutes to enhance service standard and product variety; and establishing standards that ensure the safety and security of visitors.
Mr. Bartlett said the newly appointed Board members of the Ministry’s entities have pivotal roles in driving the new thrust “to make tourism a stronger contributor to the economic transformation efforts of this administration.”
He expressed confidence in their ability to achieve their mandate, given their track record of success and experience in their respective endeavours.
The one-day orientation seminar was also addressed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Jennifer Griffith, and Corporate Governance Consultant, Dr Vindel Kerr.