JIS News

A new 13-member board for the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) is now in place, with its appointment effective from January 1, 2011, for a period of three years.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, presented the Board on January 28, during a press conference, held at the Montego Bay Tourism Centre, in St. James.   Following the presentation he gave a charge to the Board, to continue to strive for improvements within the tourism sector, coupled with the creation of jobs.

The TEF is a mechanism established through the Ministry of Tourism for the collection of a fee from incoming airline and cruise passengers to the island.  The fee is placed in a dedicated fund to be used for the sole purpose of implementing the recommendations emanating from the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development.

Minister Bartlett pointed out that his Ministry has managed to attract to the new Board some of the finest minds in the tourism business in Jamaica, and has also been able to develop a mix of skill sets, that will be able to provide the Board with the requisite guidance to fulfill its mandate.

“This Board is coming into being at a very important time in the history of the tourism industry, we begin just about at the onset of a global recovery in the tourism industry overall, as well as global economies,” he stated, adding, “we begin at a time when the advanced economies that have traditionally been the mainstay of our markets are being challenged for growth, and indeed the trends are that the growth rate within these advanced economies are going to be decidedly slower than the growth rate of emerging markets”.

Mr. Bartlett noted that the Board is being inaugurated against the background of challenges in terms of airlifts across the globe, as the airline industry is being significantly reconfigured as a result of the worldwide recession.

“You are being asked to drive also a revival of the Jamaican economy, and as much as you think that you are going to manage a fund, you are managing a fund that is going to be used to enable economic recovery,” he emphasised.

The Tourism Minister pointed out that whilst there is commitment to the traditional methods of enhancing the tourism product, to ensure that the destination remains visible and attractive, the managers of the Fund must recognise that the investment into emerging markets will be higher than that of traditional markets.