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Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has emphasised that despite the global financial crisis, the tourist industry remains buoyant, and that the upcoming Winter season is projected to record a 5 per cent increase over the previous year.
The Minister, in an interview with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) from London, England, where he is currently attending the World Travel Market Trade Show, said that strong and targeted marketing of Jamaica’s tourism product by Government and industry stakeholders, would achieve the desired results.
“Tourism is about marketing and marketing is about selling of the experience, that is destination Jamaica. When times are hardest, you need to market even harder,” Mr. Bartlett said.
Responding to concerns that the Jamaican Government’s response to the financial crisis was lukewarm and that critical sectors, such as tourism, were slow off the mark, the Minister’s response was emphatic.
“That is absolute nonsense. We have the same information that everybody has, but we also have the value of the broader picture. Because our response has not been doom and gloom, doesn’t mean that we are not seized by the gravity of the problem. What it means is that our resolve is not to be defeated by it,” he said.
The Minister explained that he has engaged the support of stakeholders in the industry, and together, they are closely monitoring the marketplace, improving the local tourism product, and intensifying their marketing and promotional efforts.
Mr. Bartlett said that on his return to the island, the Tourism Ministry, in collaboration with the industry, would continue to fine-tune contingency plans and make proactive interventions in support of the industry.