Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says revenue from the tourism sector grew by 12.1 per cent in 2017, delivering $62.2 billion to the local economy.
Mr. Bartlett, who was speaking in the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, today (May 8), also reported that the sector is seeing an increase in employment.
He noted that in 2017, tourism accounted for 8.9 per cent of the labour force, employing 122,500 workers, and generated indirect employment for another 250,000 workers.
“These figures once again underscore the well-known fact that tourism is vital to the fulfilment of Vision 2030,” the Minister told the House, adding that the Ministry is committed to attracting five million tourists by 2021, the generation of US$5 billion in earnings, total direct jobs of 125,000, while adding 15,000 rooms.
Mr. Bartlett said the sector is expanding at an “unprecedented pace” and remains poised to outperform the growth target of five per cent in five years, noting that for two consecutive years, tourism exceeded the five per cent projected annual growth.
Last year, 4.3 million tourists visited Jamaica’s shores, with the country making history with 500,000 new visitors to the island in a single calendar year. Revenue grew in the sector from US$2.1 billion in 2016 to approximately US$3 billion in 2017.
Mr. Bartlett said the Ministry will continue to give support to the security forces, and that more than $1 billion has been committed through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to ensure that “our destination remains safe and secure”.