JIS News

Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, is projecting that the tourism sector will employ an additional 58,000 workers over the next 10 years.
This, he said, is based on the level and rate of infrastructural development and expansion, currently taking place in the sector.
Speaking at a workshop, jointly staged by the Competitiveness Company of Jamaica, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and World Economic Forum (WEF), at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on September 9, to present the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2008, Mr. Bartlett said the sector currently has a capacity of some 30,000 rooms, and provides direct employment for approximately 80,000 persons.
Additionally, he said that between 180,000 and 200,000 persons were indirectly employed, “depending on how you can link the various elements to the tourism services.”
“We are increasing the number of rooms at a rate of 3,000 this year, and moving on, hopefully, for the next 10 years, to reach 45,000. In terms of the number of projected employees, that the industry will need for the next 10 years, we project that we would be employing an additional 58,000 employees. In the first five years, we are looking at some 33,000 new employees,” the Minister said, noting that the sector contributed some US$2 billion to the country’s economy last year.
“So, in terms of real industry, that is providing jobs, and contributing to capital formation and development, tourism is number one. What it means, therefore, is that tourism will contribute between 13 to 15 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and will employ somewhere in the region of 12 to 15 per cent of the total employment source of the country, which is very significant,” he pointed out.
“I think that we are somewhere about nine per cent at the moment, in terms of total employment of our country. So, what we are talking about then, is an industry which has breadth, width, and potential for great growth,” Mr. Bartlett added.
The Minister stressed, however, that tourism does not function by itself, but is “fed” by a number of other industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing and transportation.
“And so, the competitiveness of tourism is not a function of its own efforts, but is a function of the competitiveness of the feeder industries into it,” Mr. Bartlett said.