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Jamaica underscores tourism strategy – action plan’s importance

By Latonya Linton

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – Tourism minister Edmund Bartlett, has emphasised the importance of Jamaica’s Tourism Strategy and Action Plan (TSAP) in generating the stakeholder capacity to respond to the industry’s new architecture.

Minister Bartlett was speaking during the opening session of the Tourism Strategy and Action Plan Consultation Workshop for Kingston and St Andrew, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, April 4.

The TSAP, being executed through a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is geared towards boosting socio-economic development and investment, building the local tourism industry’s resilience to climate change and reducing the sector’s contribution to climate change.

It also aims to diversify Jamaica’s inbound tourism and promote the industry’s knowledge-based and technology-enabled development.

Bartlett also highlighted the TSAP’s importance in making tourism more inclusive and more of an enabler of economic growth and development in Jamaica.

“So, the strategies have to look at not just the physical areas but it has to start with human capital. The most important element within our tourism realisation is with people. Jamaica’s wealth is not in minerals, as you know; but what we really have are our people, and our people are the wealth of this country,” Bartlett added. “And so, our strategy has to deal, very strongly, with building, training, building intellectual capacity, building innovative capacities, building creative capacities, [and] building a new sense of how people can convert knowledge into material goods and services which will have a value and a price.”

Minister Bartlett further underscored the need to increase local production, which is critical in enabling Jamaica to retain a larger ratio of the tourist dollar.

“The consumption pattern of the visitor is three to five times that of the locals. Some people don’t understand why revenue to government has increased significantly without increasing/or new taxes being imposed. They don’t understand that what tourism has done is to increase the consumption pattern in Jamaica exponentially over the last two and a half years in particular, as we started from zero and grew to what is now 4.2 million visitors,” minister Bartlett added. “So, whose food are they eating? That is our job. To make sure that it is Jamaican food … our farmers must step up to the plate. The strategy in tourism must drive the linkages in the various areas, so as to stop the leakages from all the other areas.”

The workshop marks the final in a series of engagements aimed at highlighting relevant components of the tourism strategy and gathering as much input as possible from key stakeholders.



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