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  • The Ministry of Tourism is looking to assist more operators of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to capitalise on opportunities within the tourism sector.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will be engaged to work with a “sensitive but important financial institution to develop a financial portfolio to encourage local, indigenous entrepreneurship to meet the supply and demand of tourism.”
  • “I have already put this before the TEF Council and they have started to think the process through,” he informed.

The Ministry of Tourism is looking to assist more operators of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to capitalise on opportunities within the tourism sector.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) will be engaged to work with a “sensitive but important financial institution to develop a financial portfolio to encourage local, indigenous entrepreneurship to meet the supply and demand of tourism.”

“I have already put this before the TEF Council and they have started to think the process through,” he informed.

Minister Bartlett was addressing the official opening ceremony for the Tourism Speed Networking Event at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort on March 17.

The Tourism Minister said the emphasis is on empowering more entrepreneurs to participate in the local economy.

“What we are going to do is to enable policy, which will drive the facilitation of entrepreneurship with an emphasis on local indigenous entrepreneurship,” he noted further.

Minister Bartlett further proposed the development of a special tourism credit bank to provide a well-needed source of funding for persons interested in investing in the sector.

He said it would operate in a manner similar to Banco Nacional in the Dominican Republic, which seeks out tourism opportunities and provides financing for these initiatives.

Minister Bartlett hailed the staging of the Tourism Speed Networking Event in bringing together sellers and buyers to help to bridge the supply gap in the tourism industry.

 

“The importance of the local entrepreneurs buying into the requirements to supply the inputs of tourism is critical because that’s how the tourism dollar is going to be retained and that’s how we are going to build tourism value-added,” he contended.

The event, which is in its third year, aims to link buyers in the tourism sector with local businesses that offer a wide range of goods and services.

It is organised by the Ministry’s Tourism Linkages Hub and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) in collaboration with various partners.

JHTA President, Nicola Madden-Greig, said the entity is pleased with the multi-agency partnership in hosting the event, and providing a platform for strengthening linkages between the hotel industry and players in the manufacturing, creative and construction sectors, among others.

The event saw some 100 buyers and more than 80 suppliers/sellers coming together to network and establish new business leads.

Other partners are: the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, JAMPRO, Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).