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Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has encouraged United Kingdom-based Jamaicans to invest in the country, especially in the tourism sector, which he says, is ripe with opportunities.
Speaking at a packed community meeting in London last night (Nov.13), which was organised by the Jamaican High Commission, Mr. Bartlett said that the Diaspora has always responded positively to Jamaica in terms of natural disasters or remittances, which amounted to more than US$1.9 billion last year.
He noted however that not enough was coming in for investment, which would generate jobs and foster economic growth.
“For investment…I want to suggest that it is not nearly as much as it should be. The Diaspora’s response in terms of remittances is good and in terms of other kinds of services is quite good. But .we want to see more of what generates capital formation, creates jobs, and gives true independence to our people,” he stated.
“We have opportunities in Jamaica, and we are opening up some windows for financing. We have a fund of $2 billion that is underutilised because the ideas and the projects are not coming in,” he informed the gathering.
Citing tourism as a key area for investment, Minister Bartlett said it was the only sector where Jamaica had both a competitive and comparative advantage, and continued to experience growth. “Come and help us enhance the quality, range and diversity of the product in Jamaica,” he urged, noting that the expected growth in accommodation will mean a demand for other kinds of services and attractions.
He also urged qualified and experienced persons in the travel and tourism sector, to return to help fill the skills gaps in these areas.