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KINGSTON — The Ministry of Tourism is to undertake a comprehensive study on the economic impact of tourism in Jamaica, which will inform policy initiatives for the sector.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, yesterday signed a US$220,000 contract with consultancy company – Nathan EME Limited, to carry out the research, which is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

Speaking at the signing ceremony at Devon House in Kingston, Mr. Bartlett said the study will provide a “roadmap for guidance” while contributing significantly to improving the quality of information available for strategic planning and policy development within the sector.

He lamented that the real impact of the tourism and tourism-related activities are not adequately measured by currently available data and this limits the ability of Government and private sector decision-makers to plan and manage the industry in the most optimal way.

He said the decision was taken to develop a body of empirical data, which can guide the thinkers and the planners and the policy makers of the country but more importantly, to track the performance of the sector.

Mr. Bartlett stated that the information generated will be useful to local producers of goods and services to allow them to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the industry.

“It will enable the financers (and) the bankers, to develop a portfolio to deal with tourism supplies; it will enable the agricultural planners to determine what kind of zoning to do, what kind of crops to plant, livestock to rear; and the agro processors to also decide what kind of investment they must make in what processing facilities,” he said.

Manufacturers, he noted further, will also be advised “as to what kind of products they are to manufacture, what volume of product is required and what price points may be necessary in order to be competitive.”

The principal objectives of the consultancy are to: assess the impact of the tourism-related activities on the Jamaican economy in terms of: employment, investment, output, foreign exchange earnings; conduct a financial analysis of the tourism industry including  revenues, expenses, investments, and taxes; utilise information available from the Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA) to undertake more detailed analysis of the tourism industry; and provide information that will contribute to the capacity of the private sector for strategic planning, management and increased efficiency.

It will also provide information, which will contribute to increased capacity of the Government of Jamaica and more particularly, the Ministry of Tourism and its related agencies, to monitor and evaluate the performance of tourism and plan for the sustainable development of tourism and the Jamaican economy.

A special task force led by Chairman, GraceKennedy and Company Limited,Don Wehby has been established to oversee the execution of the study.

The other members are: Chairman, National Commercial Bank (NCB),Michael Lee Chin; General Manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, Earl Jarrett; President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Wayne Cummings; President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Omar Azan; Director General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN),  Sonia Jackson; Deputy Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Pauline Knight; President of JAMPRO, Sancia Templer; and Consultant in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Derrick Deslandes.

Nathan EME is a leading provider of economic and management consultancy services worldwide focused on achieving inclusive growth.

 

By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter