Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has commended the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) for its work in maintaining Jamaica’s tourism product at the highest international standard.
Speaking at the entity’s staff awards luncheon, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on February 12, under the theme: ‘Celebration of Service in Tourism’, Dr. McNeill underscored the importance of tailoring Jamaica’s tourism provisions to fulfill the needs and expectations of target clients.
“Without a great tourism product… no doubt this would result in customer dissatisfaction, something we cannot afford. It is part of your responsibility to ensure that the product meets the highest standards, so that visitors will know, once they arrive on our beautiful shores that steps are being taken to bring the product to its highest level. Your impact in this area has been significant and I want to commend you,” the Minister told the staff.
Dr. McNeill noted that efforts to this end have manifested in TPDCo’s focus on training industry workers, instituting appropriate regulations, and partnering with communities in maintaining, beautifying and facilitating infrastructural development.
“Over the last few years, I am advised that TPDCo has completed physical works to the tune of over $450 million annually. It has also trained over 11,000 industry workers and assessed just under 5,000 entities annually,” the Minister said.
“However, while we have been doing some good work in spurts, we must now begin to press (ahead) on transformational projects in areas such as Port Royal, Falmouth, Ocho Rios and Spanish Town…that will have a larger impact, and involve and benefit even more Jamaicans,” he added.
Citing the country’s current economic challenges, Dr. McNeill said the tourism sector is deemed pivotal in efforts to revitalize the economy, while asserting that, “we (tourism stakeholders) are going to have to lead the growth going forward.”
“As we forge ahead to transform our tourism product…only the highest ethical standards, the best technical standards, the utmost professional standards, will be good enough. Success will require prudent planning and the creation of a holistic policy framework to foster the sustainable development and transformation of our tourism product,” the Minister emphasized.
In her remarks, TPDCo Chairperson, Maxine Henry-Wilson, also commended the agency’s staff, while pointing out that the institution is cognizant of its “immense” role in the tourism sector, and acknowledges that if its mandate is not properly executed, this could “negatively affect our brand”.
“I also believe that we are aware of the changing nature of the highly competitive global economy and the changing nature of our visitors, who are no longer content with enjoying just sun, sea and sand. They are, more than ever, more discerning, more sophisticated, and require higher standards across the board,” she said, while underscoring the need to cater to local communities in facilitating the enhancement of the country’s various assets.
“All of these elements are key components which help to differentiate us from other destinations. Things are moving at a rapid pace and we must be nimble in our response to the changes, so that we can assist our stakeholders and, by extension, Jamaica’s tourism industry, in maintaining its competitive advantage,” Mrs. Henry-Wilson said.
Just over 80 TPDCo employees were presented with special awards for exemplary and outstanding service.
The Tourism Product Development Company is the central agency mandated by the Government to facilitate the maintenance, development and enhancement of Jamaica’s tourism product.