JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook, says tourism continues to be a key economic driver and represents a solid choice for investment.
  • He said that increased linkages with the agriculture and manufacturing industries, for example, will provide opportunities for further growth.
  • Mr. Pennicook said the sector is poised for further growth in visitor arrivals and increases in investments.

Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook, says tourism continues to be a key economic driver and represents a solid choice for investment.

“When we consider the contribution that the sector has made to the economy and that the destination continues to attract investors, even from our competitive neighbours, it demonstrates that Jamaica’s tourism is a sound investment,” he said.

He was addressing Sagicor’s Pension Investment Fund (PIF) Seminar held on March 14, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Mr. Pennicook, in highlighting the soundness of tourism, said the sector contributes over 60 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings, surpassing industries such as agriculture, bauxite and manufacturing.

Over 90,000 persons are directly employed to the sector, and another 190,000 through indirect and induced impact.

Mr. Pennicook noted further that the tourism industry contributed over seven percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, generating more than $288 billion in expenditure in the economy, while tourism-related industries earned more than $100 billion.

He said that increased linkages with the agriculture and manufacturing industries, for example, will provide opportunities for further growth.

Mr. Pennicook informed that stopover arrivals have grown by an average of 3.7 percent per annum over the last 10 years. This is an increase from 1.47 million in 2005, to 2.12 million visitors in 2015.  Cruise arrivals averaged 3.6 percent growth per year over the same period.

This steady increase in cruise and stopover arrivals yielded returns to gross foreign exchange earnings of US$2.38 billion, up from US$1.5 billion in 2005.

Mr. Pennicook said the sector is poised for further growth in visitor arrivals and increases in investments.

“There continues to be investment in the industry and it is only when we have continued investment that we can be sure of continued growth in the industry. There is no question that tourism will continue to be key to Jamaica’s financial security,” he said.