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Story Highlights

  • The Government is implementing measures to improve the security and cultural experience of visitors and boost the country’s ranking in world travel indices.
  • Minister Bartlett informed that the country’s ranking about slipped from four to five in Trip Advisor’s Absolute Ranking of Destinations in the Caribbean, because of cultural experiences and safety and security concerns.
  • The council is made up of public and private-sector partners that oversee the coordination and implementation of effective and sustainable strategies which strengthen and facilitate linkages.

The Government is implementing measures to improve the security and cultural experience of visitors and boost the country’s ranking in world travel indices.

This was disclosed by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett during a meeting of the expanded Tourism Linkages Council at the Ministry of Tourism offices in New Kingston on June 23.

He informed that Jamaica was ranked 76 out of 141 countries in the 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.

“We are ranked sixth in the Americas, but we are ranked below Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, primarily because we rank low in cultural experiences and we rank very low in safety and security issues. We didn’t rank very well either in terms of infrastructure,” he noted.

“The linkages that we are going to have to form are going to be very critical to build out the competitiveness of the destination because you are being measured on these critical factors,” he said.

Minister Bartlett informed that the country’s ranking about slipped from four to five in Trip Advisor’s Absolute Ranking of Destinations in the Caribbean, because of cultural experiences and safety and security concerns.

Among the collaborative approaches that are being undertaken to improve security is the deployment of 70 district constables to resort areas.

“That is in addition to the courtesy corps that we now have, and we are in further discussion to build out a strong arrangement between the National Security and Tourism Ministries to ensure that on the road, foot patrol, physical presence of security will be in the industry in a strong way,” he said.

In addition, a multisectoral task force has been created to develop strategies to effectively address the issue of visitor harassment. The strategies will include legislative, law enforcement, and social intervention measures.

As it relates to culture, the Minister said more will be done to “create a distinctiveness for visitors and ensure that the Jamaican experience is paramount”.

The Tourism Linkages Council is chaired by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sandals International, Adam Stewart.

Other members are owner of the Spa Retreat Boutique Hotel in Negril, Christine Cohen; CEO of Digicel Jamaica, David Butler; Entertainment Consultant, Kamal Bankay; CEO, GB Energy Jamaica, Mauricio Pulido; Acting CEO of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Peter Thompson, among several other industry leaders.

The council is made up of public and private-sector partners that oversee the coordination and implementation of effective and sustainable strategies which strengthen and facilitate linkages.