Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced the establishment of a special Task Force that will lead the process of determining the aggregate demand for goods and services in the tourist industry, as efforts intensify toward positioning the sector as a significant driver of economic growth in the country.
He pointed out that members of the task force are: Chief Operating Officer of GraceKennedy, Mr. Don Wehby; businessman, Mr. Michael Lee Chin; Mr. Derrick Deslandes, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; President of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association, Mr. Omar Azan; General Manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, Mr. Earl Jarrett; Head of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Ms. Sonia Jackson; and President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Mr. Wayne Cummings.
Members of the western business sector taking part in a Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Forum, held at the Wexford Court Hotel, in Montego Bay, on April 22.
The Minister was giving the main address at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Seminar, held at the Wexford Hotel, in Montego Bay, on April 22.
Explaining the functions and objectives of the task force, Minister Bartlett noted that it would oversee the research, which is expected to be carried out in six months, that would provide empirical evidence of the linkages created by tourism with other sectors of the economy, which would in turn, enable them to better produce and supply the sector.
“The findings of this research that is to be funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the PSOJ, will go a far way in increasing tourism linkages with the national economy for improved economic growth,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He pointed out that tourism has contributed significantly to the Jamaican economy, with 5.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year, up from 5.5 per cent the year before.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (centre), addressing representatives of the western business sector, during a Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Seminar, held at the Wexford Court Hotel, in Montego Bay, on April 22. Listening from left are: Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Christopher Tufton and Managing Editor of the Western Mirror, Lloyd B. Smith.
“Of the 13 sectors, tourism is ranked 9th and is important in the employment of labour in this country. Directly, the industry employs some 80,000 people or 7 per cent of the labour force,” Mr. Bartlett said.
The forum was organised by the PSOJ and Jamaica National Building Society, in association with the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, under the theme: ‘Improving tourism linkages with local business’.