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Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Dennis Morrison, has underscored the importance of the diversification of markets in the tourist industry, and that the sector’s success will depend greatly on collaboration between the public and private sectors in that thrust.

Pointing out that diversification of tourism markets has been a long stated objective of successive governments; Mr. Morrison said pursuing that goal has been spasmodic over the years.  He outlined some of the basic requirements toward achieving that objective.

"It requires long term investment and it requires that we are nimble and quick to respond to markets which change and which are very dynamic. It means that we have to be very strategic in our decision-making and to really work collaboratively," he said.

Mr. Morrison was delivering the main address at a Breakfast Forum, staged jointly by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and The Jamaica Money Market Group, at the Secrets Resort and Spa Hotel, in Montego Bay, on September 12.

Citing Latin America as an ideal location for efforts toward market diversification at this time, the Chairman said that a successful marketing programme would serve both as a basis for growth in that sector and also help in driving the recovery and expansion of the country’s economy.

"Latin America has become a magnet because of its recent (economic) performance, and particularly Brazil for trade and investment,” he pointed out.

He also noted that the Latin American region has been one of the world’s strongest performers since the last global recession, rebounding faster and growing more than most other regions.

Mr. Morrison emphasised that the State and private sector have separate roles to play for the market diversification programme to be a success.  He mentioned the country’s recent success at the London Olympics, noting that Jamaica’s athletes have done a tremendous job in raising the country’s brand awareness, which ought to be pursued.

"The Government, as it supports marketing, must also be prepared to invest for the long run. We know there are budgetary constraints, but resources must be prioritised,” he argued.

Mr. Morrison said the government/private sector collaboration is also essential in arranging the necessary airlift from the new and emerging markets.