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  • Under the programme, young persons between 17 and 25 years of age are placed in summer jobs across the island where they are trained in various areas. They receive a stipend from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).
  • The Minister urged the participants to make an effort to recognise the role they are playing and will play in the seamless development of Jamaica’s tourism industry, even if they are not placed in a direct tourism operation.
  • Meanwhile, the Minister reiterated that for 2015, Jamaica earned US$2.5 billion from the sector, while welcoming 3.7 million visitors, a feat that makes tourism the largest contributor to the island’s foreign exchange earnings.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Spruce Up Jamaica Tourism Summer Internship programme has been playing a major role in building well-trained and dedicated professionals for the industry.

Under the programme, young persons between 17 and 25 years of age are placed in summer jobs across the island where they are trained in various areas. They receive a stipend from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).

Speaking at the 2016 Spruce Up Jamaica Tourism Summer Internship Rally, held on August 11 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, Mr. Bartlett said the programme has been gaining momentum over the years, moving from less than 1,000 participants to over 5,000.

“The programme started in 2008, and over the period we have spent just over $100 million to provide this exposure to more than 5,000 young people across Jamaica. This year we have engaged 700 young persons,” the Minister noted.

Mr. Bartlett told the participants at the rally that this is an opportunity for them “to open their minds to a broad spectrum of activities that create an experience that people travel across the world to enjoy.”

The Minister urged the participants to make an effort to recognise the role they are playing and will play in the seamless development of Jamaica’s tourism industry, even if they are not placed in a direct tourism operation.

“Beyond all those areas that are directly connected with tourism, there are other moving parts, such as agriculture, which is a critical area of connection. Tourism is not an industry by itself, but is a catalyst that brings all elements and industries together, so you are a part of a bigger picture,” he said.

The Minister told the interns that they must use their engagement in tourism, through the programme, to assist in the building of brand Jamaica, which is currently ranked number one in the Caribbean by the respected travel company, Trip Advisor.

Meanwhile, the Minister reiterated that for 2015, Jamaica earned US$2.5 billion from the sector, while welcoming 3.7 million visitors, a feat that makes tourism the largest contributor to the island’s foreign exchange earnings.

He stated that for the first six months of this year, 2.1 million visitors arrived in the island, with the country earning US$1.3 billion, the largest sum for a six-month period in Jamaica’s history.