Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, is slated to announce details of several major projects, being earmarked for implementation within the industry, when he makes his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 12.
Speaking at the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s 52nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel, in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on Saturday, June 1, Dr. McNeill pointed out that the projects are expected to be “transformational”, while pointing out that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will have a pivotal role in implementing these.
“The Tourism Enhancement Fund must be a transformational body. I want to see big projects that make a difference to Jamaica,” he stated, while adding that the TEF’s input will also be outlined during his sectoral presentation.
The Minister disclosed, however, that consultations have commenced with stakeholders in Ocho Rios regarding the projects to be undertaken in that area. He pointed out that these talks have gained resonance among the parties with whom the Ministry has been dialoguing.
Pointing out that projections for the 2013 summer and winter tourist seasons are “looking good”, Dr. McNeill appealed for continued collaboration among all sector stakeholders, “in the interest of the industry”.
“I think our partnership is a really strong and good partnership; and it is something we can use as an example for the entire country, when we are all working together to develop Jamaica, land we love,” he stated.
The Minister, however, lamented continuous reports being received about the extent of visitor harassment occurring, particularly in the resort areas, which, he asserted, must be decisively addressed.
In this regard, he informed that the Ministry has initiated discussions with several key stakeholders, inclusive of the security forces and the judiciary, to institute measures that will curtail such undesirable behavior.
“Over the years we have discussed the issue of harassment in Jamaica, and I have taken the initiative now to address it seriously. We have been having discussions, and we are going to be looking at the issues of anti-harassment. Right now, we are doing some work to this end in Ocho Rios, because it is important,” he disclosed.
Dr. McNeill contended that if this scourge is rooted out, Jamaica’s tourism industry will be transformed significantly, resulting in increased visitor arrivals, yielding dividends redounding to the country’s long-term benefit
Contact: Bryan Miller