The Ministry of Tourism is to embark on a series of islandwide public consultations, to discuss issues relating to tourism and its impact on the national economy.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett made the disclosure at a Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy (DAFS) consultation meeting, held at the Negril Community Centre, Norman Manley Boulevard in Westmoreland on March 23.
Mr. Bartlett said it was important that all stakeholders know about the opportunities available within the sector.
“My vision is for Jamaica to be at the top of the list of aspirational destinations for travellers. We must put in place the framework to ensure Jamaica’s brand integrity and brand promise, both of which are critical to the success of the tourism industry,” the Minister said.
“When tourism wins, we all win, because this very important industry is the key driver of the Jamaican economy. This sector generates direct employment for 175,000 Jamaicans and indirect employment for over 354,000 others, including hotel workers, farmers, craft vendors, entertainers, and transportation operators,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica’s reputation as a world class vacation destination, with numerous high-quality offerings, enables the country to remain competitive in the international marketplace.
“It also allows us to retain our envious position as the gem of the Caribbean with a 44 percent visitor return rate, while keeping in mind that each visitor that comes to our island, is a potential brand ambassador. In this technological age, good news travels fast, but bad news travels even faster. Therefore, we must ensure that when a visitor leaves, it is with a world leading experience,” the Minister stated.
Mr. Bartlett said crucial to the effective development of the tourism product are the Destination Assurance Councils (DACs) in the six resort areas, which are tasked with ensuring that the quality, standards, and integrity of Jamaica’s tourism product are maintained.
He however stated that except for Montego Bay, the DACs have not been as active as “we had hoped however, this is going to change in short order”.
“Already, my Ministry and our public bodies – the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), are working feverishly with our tourism partners in the various resort areas to reconstitute the inactive DACs,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He added that the Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy is the blueprint that will guide the Ministry and its partners to ensure continuous improvement in the delivery and management of quality, throughout the tourism value chain.
The DAFS was finalised as a Green Paper in February 2022 and approved by Cabinet in May 2022.