Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, is imploring the business community and other stakeholders in the tourism industry to assist the Government in improving linkages between the industry and other sectors.
“I challenge members of our business community, our farmers and manufacturers to support this drive to strengthen the linkages between tourism and all the other sectors.Be more proactive in finding ways to tap into the supply chain created by tourism and reap the financial rewards,” he urged.
The Minister was addressing an Investments and Capital Markets conference on January 25, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston.
He noted that the tourism industry already has significant linkages with major sectors, such as agriculture, but there are other sectors like manufacturing, “which I believe with improved information and better communication across the sectors, a plethora of opportunities can be realised and exploited."
Dr. McNeill said he is looking forward to having crucial discussions with private sector partners to explore the opportunities and examine the policies that the Government needs to introduce to improve these linkages.
“The time is ripe for the government to take ownership of the potential presented by the tourism sector and turn it into reality. The idea is to see how we can harness the potential of this sector and to have more investment opportunities materialise for both local and overseas investors. The Ministry (will) play a primary role as a facilitator to create meaningful partnerships between the private and public sector,” the Minister said.
Dr. McNeill pointed out that the creation of these partnerships will generate greater information flow and dialogue across sectors, with the objective of strengthening the linkages across these industries.
“This, I believe is key to increasing the retention of tourism earnings and ultimately ensuring growth. This may be nothing new in terms of the approach to the management of tourism globally, yet it is an approach that my Ministry intends to place meaningful focus on going forward, in our efforts to generate sustainable growth for our industry,” he informed.
The Minister argued that by increasing and improving the information flow across the sectors, creative ways can be found to supply the industry while generating markets for other sectors.
Hosted by the Jamaica Stock Exchange, the three-day regional conference, now in its seventh year, is being held under the theme: ‘Forging Alliances: Opportunities Amidst the Crises’. Dr. McNeill spoke on the topic: ‘The Tourism Sector: Help or Hindrance to Employment and the Agricultural Sector?’
Geared towards the business community, the conference focuses on areas of local, regional and global interest by discussing how economies can be positioned to capitalise on opportunities presented, and how organisations can facilitate the growth and development of countries. The conference ends on January 26.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter