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Published on : Saturday, July 15, 2017
Jamaica has witnessed record-breaking arrivals and earnings in tourism sector. But this has also raised the question: how to ensure that this tourism success translates into benefits for all citizens in communities across Jamaica. This question has been put up by Jamaica’s tourism minister Edmund Bartlett.
Bartlett announced that the tourism sector is continuing its trend of record-breaking arrivals and earnings as Jamaica welcomed 2,165,330 visitors for the first six month of this year, which represents a 3.9 percent increase over the same period last year. This figure comprises 1,186,646 stop-over arrivals and 978,684 cruise visitors.
In addition, the sector earned some US$1.46 billion between January and June of this year; a remarkable 7.5 percent increase over the same period last year.
Noting that the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world, Bartlett said it would be prudent to examine the sector a little more closely “to see how we can use it better for national development.”
Bartlett said that according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, in their symposium in 2015 in Trinidad and Tobago entitled “The Caribbean and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda”, the Caribbean has lagged not only in terms of absolute growth but also relative to other developing countries; falling behind growth rates in East Asia and Africa in every decade since 1970, as well as behind the Least Developed Countries since 1980.
“We are at a stage where growth is not growth if the tourism dollars are not reaching the grassroots level. Distribution and retention are serious issues that we grapple with and we must embrace sustainable development as a way of creating a more inclusive sector,” he added.
The ministry of tourism has put in place a framework to widen the net of people benefitting from the industry in terms of ownership and employment. The tourism minister said that through its Tourism Linkages Network initiatives are being created to better integrate tourism with the wider society by increasing the consumption of local goods and services, creating employment, and generating and retaining more of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Tags: Jamaica Tourism