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Activities to commemorate Tourism Awareness Week, from September 26 to October 2, are being undertaken under the theme ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’.

Speaking at a Virtual Church Service on Sunday (September 26) to kick-start the week of activities, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that tourism is the only industry in the world that gives everyone a chance.

“It enables individuals from across the globe to interact and through that interaction provide well-being, which enables the poor, the less possessed, the less educated to have an equal access to create wealth as the rich, the educated and the lettered,” said Minister Bartlett.

“So, when we speak about tourism for inclusiveness, we leave no one behind. And I believe that is the mission that this great industry has given to us by God himself,” he added.

Other activities for the Week include daily advertorials highlighting initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism and its public bodies, a Virtual Expo, today (September 27), a Virtual Concert on October 1, and a Youth Digital Video Competition.

The Minister argued that the tourism industry has become the “lynchpin” of recovery for Jamaica’s economy.

“We grew by 330 per cent in the first quarter of this year. We have generated for the year, so far, US$1.2 billion into the economy and we have brought over a million visitors into the country,” said Mr. Bartlett.

He emphasised that “we have managed the process in dealing with the (COVID-19) pandemic in a very exemplary way”, noting that the world has taken note of the way in which “Jamaica’s protocols have been carried through effectively and well by the players in the industry and the nation as a whole”.

Meanwhile, Chairman, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Montego Bay Chapter, Robin Russell, said that the Tourism Awareness Week theme speaks directly to the JHTA and its membership, “which boasts a harmonious mix of hotels, attractions, airlines, craft makers and artisans, manufacturing and farming and other allied industries”.

“Our members make significant contributions to the Jamaican economy supporting families and, above all, supporting linkages across other sectors,” he added.

He said also that the industry has everything to celebrate despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are alive and we are well. Our guests have resumed their pilgrimages to their favourite hotels despite COVID,” he added.

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