JIS News

Jamaica’s tourism industry has suffered very little disruption, so far, as the global economic meltdown drags on.
That was the message the Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, delivered to media practitioners in New York City, on December 5, at the Annual Media Appreciation Reception, held at the offices of the public relations firm, Ruder Finn, in midtown Manhattan.
While emphasising that it could not be business as usual, in the face of the global economic crunch, the Minister was nonetheless adamant that Jamaica was best situated, among all Caribbean destinations, to weather the storm.
“Jamaica has more than 157 attractions, which is more than all the other Caribbean islands combined,” Mr. Bartlett said.
The Minister pointed out that Jamaica continues to show growth in the sector in every month, except for July, and credited Jamaica’s focus on infrastructural development and diversification, as key factors that would help to lessen the effects of the global economic challenges.
“The Government of Jamaica has emphasised diversification of the industry in its stated programme for tourism development,” Mr. Bartlett said, citing faith-based tourism, health and wellness and sports tourism, as well as the continued promotion of Jamaica as a honeymoon and wedding destination, as some of the non-traditional areas primed for future growth.
Among the big promotions for 2009, the Minister said, is the first ever Beach 100-metre sprint event, to be hosted in Negril on a specially built Mondo track, designed in the colours of the Jamaican flag. A notable feature of this track is that it is collapsible and portable, making it possible to stage a similar event in another part of the island in a few days.
“Tourism is the lynchpin in the upturn of the economy and is the vehicle to get us out of the downturn, because of its chance for a quick turn around,” Mr. Bartlett said.
The Minister pointed out that for the Winter season, the sector would benefit from close to one million airline seats from the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom, and an aggressive marketing campaign with major players in the US market.
He encouraged Jamaicans living overseas to consider coming home for vacation and to continue to promote the country as the best tourist destination.

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