JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said his Ministry intends to reposition the industry and ensure that the nation has a full sense of its importance and economic impact on the country, and the seriousness with which development of the sector must be approached.
It is to this end that the Ministry will be hosting the first ever annual Tourism Outlook Seminar on February 20 at the Hilton Kingston Hotel. This was disclosed by Mr. Bartlett to journalists at a press briefing held yesterday (Feb. 13) at Jamaica House.
“We have sought to bring to Jamaica for the first time, some of the leading players in the industry covering the technical and information areas through to air transport, involving cruise tourism, as well as regional marketing and management within the industry. We have chosen to do it this time ahead of the new financial year, so as to enhance our own planning process locally, and it is coinciding also with the mid-term review of our Tourism Master Plan for Sustainable Development,” Mr. Bartlett explained.
He noted that it is important that the full impact and contribution of the tourism industry be understood, as it is the largest provider of foreign exchange to the country and employs more than 80,000 persons directly and 180,000 indirectly. “It has linkages in more than 23 sectors and is in fact the only industry in Jamaica today that provides support and assistance for every single layer of employable persons within the country,” he stated.
However, Mr. Bartlett pointed out, despite the fact that tourism pulls in 47 per cent of foreign exchange, the industry has not enjoyed the premier position in terms of the national accounts as its contribution is reflected for planning and resource allocation purposes. “Tourism is categorized in our national accounts as miscellaneous clubs and restaurants.we intend to reposition tourism,” he said.
Minister Bartlett said that the seminar will bring all stakeholders together for dialogue, headed by a team of global tourism experts. “In fact, no other country in the Caribbean has been able to attract this team of experts at any one time,” he noted.
The discussions will be led by President of World Travel and Tourism Council, Jean-Claude Baumgarten, who will speak on the economic impact of tourism. Meanwhile, Secretary General for Caribbean Tourism Association, Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, will speak on marketing in the Caribbean; Ambassador Richard Bernal will address the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Caribbean response; Director of the Caribbean Council, and publisher, David Jessop, will give insight into the EPA and its impact on Caribbean tourism resources; while President of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, Michelle Paige is expected to speak on cruise tourism.
Chairman of International Air Transport Association (IATA), Cyriel Knonenburg will address the seminar on making the Caribbean competitive; and Executive Director of the Caribbean Hotel Association, Alec Sanguinetti will lead the discussion on the future of the Caribbean accommodation sector, focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises.
Other Panellists include president of the Caribbean Hotel Association, Peter Odle; Director of the Caribbean Franchise Development Choice Hotels International, Caroline Racine; President of the Jamaica Hotel Tourist Association (JHTA) Wayne Cummings; Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) Godfrey Dyer.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett will provide a new outlook on tourism in Jamaica, and Director of Tourism, Basil Smith will speak on Jamaica as a destination. Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), John Lynch and Minister of Industry and Commerce, Karl Samuda, are also expected to make presentations.

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