Published on : Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Managers of Small and medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs) across Jamaica are benefiting from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) loan product, via support of companies like JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL).
Gillian Hyde, general manager of JNSBL said, “The TEF’s mandate is to promote growth and development in the tourism sector as it strives to improve the management of environmental resources, enhance the country’s overall tourist experience, and contribute to the sustainable development of the sector.”
Till now, TEF has benefited some 296 entrepreneurs, to the sum of $676 million. Hyde said, “One component of the TEF is designed for single operators, partners and companies, with a minimum of 30 per cent of their businesses committed to goods and services for the tourism sector. From this component, beneficiaries can receive a maximum loan sum of $5 million at an interest rate of five per cent per annum on the reducing balance, with up to five years to repay.”
Another element is the transportation loan, which assists contract carriage operators specific to JUTA, JCAL and MAXI association members for buying vehicles or refinancing existing loans. The maximum loan available under this programme is $2 million at an interest rate of five percent per annum, for up to five years.
Hyde said, “There is also an energy efficiency loan programme, marketed as the JNSBL EcoSmart Loan. It is interest-free and, lends a maximum of $2 million, inclusive of the cost of the energy audit, for four years, as well as a three-month moratorium on the repayment of the principal. The equipment being purchased must be energy-saving.”
She also revealed that last year, “JNSBL began offering a community tourism loan to residents of Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth, working in the industry to foster community tourism, on behalf of the TEF. Successful applicants were able to access up to J$2 million with an interest rate of three per cent per annum, for a maximum term of five years.”
Two among several small and medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs) who have benefited from Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) loans include Rodger Brown, managing director of Herald Printers, and Beulah Kelly, one of the partners of Kelly’s Water Sports.
“We compete with printers in larger economies who can retool and be more efficient,” said Brown. “This has forced us to become more creative, to focus on our strengths; and be ‘customer-centric’.”
He welcomed the assistance from the TEF, which is designed to assist SMTEs and provide services to entities in the tourist industry.
Beulah Kelly, a partner in Kelly’s Water Sports, whose company employs 25 persons said that the TEF loan is beneficial for SMTEs because it facilitates expansion of their enterprises.
“The TEF came along when we were trying to expand,” explained Kelly. “We needed to purchase a new boat for parasailing; however, we didn’t want to use up all of our existing funds, as it would leave us in a difficult position.”