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The need for young people to play their part in promoting Jamaica as a tourist destination, has been emphasized by Carole Guntley, Director General in the Ministry of Tourism.
Miss Guntley was speaking at a Tourism Awareness Day forum, held at the Somerset Falls Resort in Hope Bay Portland on December 12.
In a wide ranging address, the Director General urged the students in attendance to become actively involved in the effort to market Portland as a tourism resort by being courteous to visitors and playing their part to keep their surroundings clean and attractive.
She noted that this should not be done only to attract visitors, but also for the nation, so that the country would be clean and beautiful for its people .
Pointing to several initiatives currently underway to make the Port Antonio resort area more attractive, Miss Guntley said these include the Spruce Up Jamaica campaign currently being conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, and the rehabilitation of the various attractions in Portland to make them more appealing to visitors.
Miss Guntley encouraged the students to make special effort to learn more about the operation of the tourist industry and the benefits accruing from it to the country, adding that the knowledge gained would help them develop a greater appreciation for the contribution that the industry makes to the national economy.
She noted that currently there were approximately 26,975 hotel rooms in Jamaica, with Portland accounting for 1,000 of these. She added that 34,000 persons are currently employed in the tourism industry, with Portland having some 1,558 of them.
The Director General said total earnings from the industry in 2006 was $1.8 billion, with 1.6 million stop over visitors during that period.
She described Portland as an all inclusive resort, arguing that the parish earned that distinction by virtue of the fact that it offered everything visitors desired, such as hotels, guest houses, rafting, villas, scuba diving and several other attractions.
Miss Guntley said that despite the many attractions which Portland offers, it is the people who have made it special for visitors, adding that the parish’s development must be carried out in a planned and structured manner that offers the best.
Stressing that the tourist industry could not achieve the desired success without the support of citizens, Miss Guntley encouraged the young people to support the initiatives being implemented to keep Port Antonio and other communities in Portland beautiful.
The function, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, was held as part of events celebrating Tourism Awareness Week (December 9-15).
Approximately 100 students and teachers from eight primary schools in Portland participated in the event, which featured presentations on the tourist industry in the parish by representatives of the Portland Resort Board, the Portland Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, and the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Participating schools were Hope Bay All-Age, Boundbrook Primary, Norwich Primary, Shebian Preparatory, Hill Preparatory, Fair Prospect Primary, Drapers All-Age and Ken Wright Primary.