Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, completed his visit to the UK this week with a community meeting at the Jamaica High Commission in London.
The event was an opportunity for Minister Bartlett to highlight the 50th Anniversary of Independence taking place next year and the importance of the Jamaican Diaspora in the UK in stimulating interest in the destination. The meeting also allowed the Tourism Minister to update the community on the latest developments taking place across the island and to discuss key issues facing the travel industry.
The meeting took place on the last day of World Travel Market, the largest international travel trade show in the UK, which proved to be very successful for the Jamaica Tourist Board with positive discussions taking place regarding new air services from Europe to Jamaica.
Minister Bartlett said "The Diaspora market is a vital and resourceful asset to the development of Jamaica and it is essential to realise how important you are as ambassadors and a sales force for our country. Diaspora visitors are responsible for 8% of Jamaica’s total annual arrivals and as such, you are fundamental to Jamaica’s vibrant tourism industry. You all help to influence potential visitors to decide why they should book a Jamaican holiday."
The Tourism Minister also had good news regarding the latest developments taking place across the island, outlining that the tourism sector had recorded five consecutive years of growth, the only sector in Jamaica to see an increase in employment. The latest figures also showed that crime had consistently fallen during the last eight months.
Minister Bartlett went on to say: "Jamaica has a tremendous future ahead and we are certainly moving in the right direction. However, there are of course issues which need to be faced in order for Jamaica to grow further such as better fiscal management and generating more revenue through incentivising investments, which will in turn create more jobs and therefore income."
The meeting concluded with a Question and Answer session with both Minister and Director, offering the community the chance to highlight their thoughts and issues.