JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has said that Jamaica’s economy stands to benefit greatly once local producers are able to adequately meet the demands of the country’s growing tourism industry.
“The demand created by tourism can be a catalyst to the productive sector. The value of food inputs in the tourism industry is US$500 million. We want a significant amount of these food items to be supplied locally,” the Minister said during his contribution to the 2010/2011 Budget Debate in Gordon House on Wednesday, April 14.
He said that as a country “we must now endeavour to ensure that the demand created by the tourism sector can be met by local production,” by paying particular attention to measures such as quality and cost competitiveness.
He contended that the removal of General Consumption Tax (GCT) on materials would “allow locally manufactured goods to enjoy the same status of imported goods, in terms of the ability to supply the tourism industry” and create a more level playing field.
With this level playing field, the Minister said, a banana farmer, for example, who has lost his competitive edge in Europe, would be able to sell his produce in Montego Bay.
He noted further that egg farmers would be better able to meet the demands of the tourism sector, which is estimated at 56 million eggs per year. He said that in 2009, 130 million eggs were produced locally.
The Tourism Minister noted that “full consideration was given to the local manufacturing sector in designing the Hotel Incentive Act (HIA), which allows hotels to import goods needed for the establishment and upgrading of hotels without paying the normal taxes on materials.”