Minister Says Communities Must Benefit From Tourism

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister of Tourism, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, addresses stakeholders and business interests in Discovery Bay, on January 22.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says no effort will be spared to ensure that sector benefits are trickled down to communities across Jamaica.
  • In an interview with JIS News, Dr. McNeill said the Ministry is very big on community tourism and is urging Jamaicans to take full advantage of the opportunities that are being created in the industry.
  • Pointing out that over $64 billion has been invested in the tourism sector over the past four years, the Minister said the opportunities and potential are huge.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says no effort will be spared to ensure that sector benefits are trickled down to communities across Jamaica.

In an interview with JIS News, Dr. McNeill said the Ministry is very big on community tourism and is urging Jamaicans to take full advantage of the opportunities that are being created in the industry.

Pointing out that over $64 billion has been invested in the tourism sector over the past four years, the Minister said the opportunities and potential are huge.

“There are opportunities to be creative and there are opportunities for people to earn a good living from the sector,” he added.

Dr. McNeill said he can recall the days when tourists would leave the hotels and go into the communities to  enjoy meals, such as pumpkin soup, oxtail and chicken. “There was a special type of bonding at the community level between locals and visitors…a lovely kind of interaction at the community level.”

The Minister said he has been working to ensure there are opportunities for the tourists to leave the hotels and go out and experience Jamaica at the community level.

“For example, on the island’s north coast where tourism plays a very important role in the lives of every single family, we are and have been developing community tourism where the visitors can come out and interact and where the people can benefit from the boom we have been experiencing,” he noted.

Dr. McNeill said the Ministry has developed a community based Tourism Policy and Strategy, embarking on a series of consultations to garner local support.

He added that several public beaches have been created across the island where Jamaicans and visitors now have full access for free. “They are of the highest standards and are safe and well maintained,” the Minister said.

“Also, if you travel across all the resort towns you will see some level of transformation which we have done under a comprehensive initiative which we started in 2013. It is aimed at creating an ambiance in which both visitors and residents can feel more comfortable,” he informed.

“I am just appealing to Jamaicans to do their part in ensuring that all visitors to the island feel the warmth and experience a part of what makes the destination unique,” the Minister said.

 

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