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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is encouraging young people to take up jobs in the tourism industry.
The Minister, who was addressing the inaugural Tourism Youth Expo and Career Fair held last Wednesday (April 8) at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Montego Bay, said that tourism was a viable career option, and efforts would be made to guide the youth towards a greater appreciation of the industry.
“Under my watch, we are determined that the future of our youth must be bright and must be preserved. Therefore, we must educate, inform, advise, and guide these young minds towards careers in tourism and an appreciation of the value of the industry, and, indeed, to be able to benefit from the industry,” he stated.
He pointed out that the second phase of the Spruce Up Jamaica programme was geared at empowering the mind and the body, and creating excellence, “making the youth understand the value of the tourism industry, and for them to begin to be engaged in this vital area of Jamaica’s economy”.
Noting the importance of the industry, Mr. Bartlett said it employed some 80,000 Jamaicans directly and well over 150,000 persons indirectly, contributing some 47 per cent of the foreign exchange generated in the economy.
“This industry has what is called the greatest flow-through effect on the economy over all other industries . it is therefore important that this industry stays alive and strong, as it is supported by all the key employment areas of the economy,” he stated, adding that many ordinary workers have grown to become owners in the industry.
Turning to other matters, the Minister said that present budgetary constraints “are going to require that we create high levels of productivity”.
“This period that the industry is going through is an opportunity for us to create a new architecture in the industry, to take a closer and harder look at our processes and create greater efficiencies in our operations, so that we can have better returns and experience … greater market diversification,” Minister Bartlett added.
Held under the theme: ‘Youth embracing service excellence in tourism’, the expo and career fair was hosted by Spruce Up Jamaica with support from the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
The first of four to be held in the major resort areas across the island, the event seeks to engage the youth in efforts to enhance the tourism product.
A large contingent of young people representing several schools across western Jamaica participated in the event, which included well-received presentations by Managing Director of Training and Development Services, Dr. Shona Heron; and Managing Director/Consultant, Quality Management Consultancy Company Limited, Nsombi Jaja.

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