JIS News

I greet you on the occasion of the observance of World Tourism Day for 2006 in a very upbeat mood. Challenges notwithstanding, Jamaica has many reasons to celebrate at this time in the history of our lead service sector.
The most recent was our exceptionally good showing at the World Travel Awards held at Beaches Turks and Caicos only last Wednesday. For those who might have missed it, Jamaica as a destination and Air Jamaica as the national carrier walked away with no fewer than six awards, topped by the title of number one cruise shipping destination in the world 2005.
These awards have capped a period of sustained robust numbers in terms of stop-over visitor arrival to our island.
The record numbers of 2005 have carried over into this year, with July recording the highest numbers for any one month in the history of the local industry at 180,000 arrivals.and the momentum has been maintained with preliminary figures for August indicating a further upswing of 23%. In fact, if we are able to simply maintain our targeted growth of rate of 6% up to December 31, we could hit the 1.69 million mark in the number of arrivals, and thus become the number one English speaking Caribbean destination in terms of annual stopover arrivals.
Bearing in mind the chosen theme for World Tourism Day 2006 – ‘Tourism Enriches’, I am also compelled to share that estimated gross foreign exchange earnings hit US $ 1.128 Billion between January and July this year, an impressive 20% increase over the same period last year.
Of course, tourism also enriches the quality of life from the personal and family to community and the entire nation through the cultural exchange that results from travel. In this regard, we also have much to celebrate right here at home.
None of these gains however come by chance. As a government, we have constantly sought to develop, implement and monitor progressive policies to create an enabling environment. We are now at mid-term in the implementation of the ambitious 10-year Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development, and these gains are among the first fruits of our multi-sectoral efforts.
Congratulations are in order to the team at The Tourism Product Development Company, TPDCo as they continue to enhance and facilitate the transformation of the local industry through its sustained efforts over the past 10 years. Happy 10th anniversary TPDCo.
Your efforts have served to feed our joint commitment to demonstrate to our overseas partners that Jamaica not only remains open for business, but is actively growing its reputation of being the ‘biggest little island one earth’. We are able to satisfy the gamut of tastes from the most casual in rustic cabins through corporate conventions requiring state-of-the-art facilities, to the personalized pampering of five star properties. We also continue to attract foreign direct investment in tourism, in complement to our efforts to improve the physical infrastructure…our airports, roadways and seaports continue to special attention that has already begun to pay off.
We have been blessed with striking natural beauty, yet it is the world-famous hospitality of our people that truly differentiates our destination. Each and every Jamaican potentially enhances the visitor experience.
With culture now reposed within the same portfolio suite as tourism, we are even more focused on creating an environment to encourages the growth /development of cultural industries – attracting more players, raising the standards, diversifying the pool, yielding a more inclusive industry. We are therefore happily on our way to turning our vision for tourism into reality:
‘For Jamaica to be a world class business and tourist destination which enables investment, international competitiveness and an improved quality of life for all.’
Catch the vision and then get with the programme.
Supply goods and services to, or invest in the sector, and
Enrich your social, cultural and financial life.
Tourism is everybody’s business.a US$6-trillion business.come help us get a bigger piece of this pie.
Walk good, and One Love.