Tourism Ministry to Pursue Major Growth-Boosting Initiatives


Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has outlined major local and international initiatives that will be pursued to boost the growth of the tourism sector and the economy.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (February 20) first annual Tourism Outlook seminar for stakeholders in the industry at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, Minister Bartlett noted that the industry would be strategically targeting new and emerging markets including Brazil, Russia, India and China and initiating projects geared at promoting continued growth of the sector. ‘While Jamaica has made great strides in establishing itself as a world tourism destination, we must now strategically promote accelerated growth to capture a greater market share and to build more prominent positioning in the marketplace,” he stressed.
Against this background, Mr. Barlett informed that a special project called ‘Drive for Five’ was on the drawing board and is geared at increasing arrival figures by an additional five million by the year 2012.
“By 2012, we hope to increase the number of visitors by 70 per cent to five million and the daily tourist spending from US$85 to US$150,” the Minister outlined.
He added that this move would make Jamaica’s tourism sector worth $75 billion annually and boost revenue for all areas of hospitality, entertainment, retail and craft vendors.
Increased tourism revenues, the Minister indicated, “will be the key economic driver in the remedies required to create jobs, reduce poverty, build national esteem and deter criminal activities that undeniably discourage tourists, damage our reputation, and jeopardize the quality of life for all Jamaicans.”
As it relates to marketing the sector, the Minister pointed out that there would be a new direction in advertising, to penetrate more non-traditional areas through cable, as well as network TV.
Important also, is the sector’s aim of forging stronger alliances with airlines to launch new routes and enhance service on existing ones.
In terms of ongoing investments, the Tourism Minister noted that the development by the RIU Group, Iberostar, Pinero Bahia Principe, Fiesta Hotels and Grupo Excellence would create a total of approximately 10,000 new hotel rooms to the inventory. Plans, he noted, are currently underway for major development projects both in the accommodation and attraction sectors, with increased interest in developing the Port Antonio area for the luxury sector.
The Minister revealed that the upscale Trident Hotel in Port Antonio was presently undergoing major renovations, with expected changes to include upgraded rooms and villas; food-and-beverage and other facilities.
The Tourism Outlook Seminar is the brainchild of the Tourism Minister, who has been advocating for a repositioning of tourism as an export industry alongside the traditional agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
The seminar heard presentations by the President of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Jean-Claude Baumgarten; the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Hotel Association, Alec Sanguinetti; the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation,Vincent Vanderpool Wallace; and several other local and international specialists in the tourism industry.

JIS Social