Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has said that the work of the special taskforce set up to examine the linkages between tourism and other sectors of the economy, will better inform planning for the industry and the wider economy.
He was speaking today (April 27) at the official launch of the eight-member work team at the Ministry’s Knutsford Boulevard offices in Kingston.
According to the Tourism Minister, the sector is not being recognised for the very critical role it can play in the future development of Jamaica’s economy.
“We have not been able to measure properly, the extent of the demand, which tourism drives, for various goods and services, and consequently we have not been able to plan sufficiently,” he stated.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left), listens to remarks from Chairman, Grace Kennedy and Company Limited, Don Wehby, at the launch of the special taskforce to examine the linkages between tourism and other sectors of the Jamaican economy held today (April 27) at the Ministry’s Knutsford Boulevard offices in Kingston. Mr. Wehby is part of the eight-member taskforce.
The task force will be charged with carrying out research to determine the impact of tourism-related activities on the Jamaican economy in terms of employment, investment, output and foreign exchange earnings; and provide information, which will contribute to the increased capacity of the Government of Jamaica, and more particularly, the Ministry of Tourism and its related agencies, to monitor and evaluate the performance of tourism, and plan for the sustainable development of the sector and the economy.
The study will be carried out over a six-month period through partnership with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ).
Mr. Bartlett stated that he was “satisfied that the objectives that we set ourselves will be achieved and within the time frame that we have set.”
“We are looking at resource support that will enable you to complete the work within the time. We are going to allow you the option of procuring the technical support by way of research groups and/or a research team. We are fortunate that the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica is going to partner with us in getting this study completed,” he said.
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Mr. Wayne Cummings, who is one of eight persons named to the taskforce, noted that there “has been a certain amount of frustration that the sector has had over the years where we have not been able to quantify what our true contributions are to other sectors.”
“I think we have the ability, if all of us knock heads, to share information. I must be very clear though that in the midst of trying to find the right mix of linkages, the viability of the sector is critical and therefore, we must be looking at the entire picture – what is it that is going to drive this sector to its growth and then how are we going to ensure that we take along the subsectors and the linkages,” Mr. Cummings noted.
He added that “one thing we don’t want to have is a spat as to what is quality. I believe there is a win, win here for all of us.”
The other members of the taskforce are: General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Mr. Earl Jarrett; Director General, Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), Ms. Sonia Jackson; Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Pauline Knight; President, Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA),
Mr. Omar Azan; Chairman, National Commercial Bank (NCB), Mr. Michael Lee-Chin; Chairman, Grace Kennedy and Company Limited, Mr. Don Wehby; and Head of the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technology in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Derrick Deslandes.