Jamaica's buoyant tourism sector could provide the stimulus for growing the island's agriculture sector and by extension the productive sector, Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett has expressed.
Addressing the Annual Caribbean Tourism Summit (ACTS) in Brussels, Belgium on March 14, Minister Bartlett said “we in tourism and our domestic industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services need to reorient our thinking and come to regard our domestic market as larger than our population. We need to understand better that our market is the sum of all of our visitors and residents and as such offers us new development opportunities."
“Put another way, tourism and visitors from overseas can become much more than a simple revenue source for Government. They can become the stimulus for our agricultural and productive growth," the Tourism Minister emphasized.
"We should be encouraging investment in industries that support the inputs required of our own tourism sector and that of other tourism industries in the hemisphere. In that way we can retain and ever increasing element of tourism revenue, stimulate local economic growth, and broaden our tax base through the income that government receives from corporation and other taxes. In this way tourism can stimulate domestic growth and in so doing help contribute more to the social services our people expect," Minister Bartlett added.
"What I am suggesting is that tourism can drive our economies and speed up recovery from the recession if we begin to think about it in a holistic development manner. In countries such as ours, tourism can support our economic adjustment,” he impressed upon the influential gathering of Caribbean and global tourism stakeholders who converged on the European city.
Tourism is the single largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product in the Caribbean, which is valued at some US$39.4 billion, based on 2010 estimates. Where tourism is concerned the Caribbean is 13th globally in absolute size; first in its relative contribution to national economies; and 10th internationally in its contribution to long term national growth.
Against this background, Minister Bartlett maintains that “the outputs of industry are the inputs of tourism. We need to streamline our industry in ways to help transform our small island economies and ensure our domestic investors and those internationally who are interested in our region see the bigger advantage this offers the productive sector when the demand our industry creates is better incorporated."
Issued By: The Ministry of Tourism