JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has emphasised the need for Jamaicans to recognise and appreciate the value of the tourism product.
Speaking with JIS News, the Minister explained that, “one of the reasons for driving the ‘Spruce Up’ Programme, is to create awareness and a sense of recognition of the value and importance of the industry and to show how it is impacting on people’s lives.”
He added that the programme was also designed, “to show tourism at work in your neighbourhood, in the community…so you see the dollar being spent around you, for you.”
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that phase two of the campaign, which was launched in May, is aimed at developing human resources and talents within the industry, and instilling a sense of pride in the country.
The Minister noted that initiatives have been implemented under the ‘Spruce Up’ Programme, to allow Jamaicans to benefit from the sector and appreciate its offerings.
One such initiative is the ‘Spruce Up Jamaica Entrepreneurial Fund’, which is a special project to provide technical assistance and financing for small properties and enterprises.
“We have a fund of $100 million that allows micro and small enterprises within the industry, to get an opportunity to start something or to enhance something that they have,” Mr. Bartlett informed.
Another programme highlighted by the Minister is the ‘Spruce Up Jamaica’ Youth Summer Programme, an initiative to enhance the overall visitor experience and provide employment for young persons.
The programme saw some 1,200 students from local high schools, colleges and universities, employed in various tourism entities in the resort areas of Kingston, Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Montego Bay, St. James, Negril, Westmoreland, and the South Coast over a three-week period in the summer.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that, “the more people benefit directly through employment or collateral benefits from the industry, is the more they recognise it and embrace it.”
In moving forward, the Minister outlined that a key strategy to be introduced to increase awareness of the sector, is to market Jamaica to Jamaicans.
“We are going to be developing this marketing strategy to ensure that Jamaicans begin to enjoy tourism in Jamaica. It is amazing to find so many of our own people not travelling in their own country and enjoying the benefits and offerings,” he said.
“We want to develop a whole programme which is going to be saying to you that internal tourism is as important to us as external tourism…We have to train our people to serve our people,” Mr. Bartlett added.