Minister Urges Jamaicans to Profit Through Tourism

Minister Urges Jamaicans to Profit Through Tourism

By Linda Hohnholz

While delivering the powerful message during his 2024/2025 Sectoral Debate opening presentation in Parliament recently, under the theme, “Tourism Gives Even More for 2024,” the Jamaica Tourism minister underscored the Ministry’s commitment to expanding the positive impact of tourism throughout Jamaica.

“Tourism generates a demand for a staggering $365 billion worth of goods annually,” Minister Bartlett said, stressing the vast potential for local businesses to cater to this demand. “Last year alone, over four million tourists visited our shores, spending over US$4 billion. While some of this money remains in our economy, a significant portion goes towards purchasing goods that are not locally available,” he added.

Minister Bartlett further stressed the critical role Jamaicans can play in capturing a greater share of this spending. “The success of the tourism industry, in terms of wealth creation, hinges on our ability to provide the goods that the industry requires,” he noted.

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In keeping with this, the tourism minister outlined a comprehensive strategy for Jamaicans to become active participants in the tourism value chain. According to Minister Bartlett, this strategy encompasses both reinforcing traditional strengths and pioneering new ventures.

He said: “Embrace traditional roles such as expanding local accommodations, culinary expansion, and training more local experts in cultural, historical, and eco-tourism.”

On the other hand, Minister Bartlett encouraged exploration of innovative concepts, listing health and wellness tourism, agri-tourism, digital tourism platforms, and the entertainment and nightlife scene as areas with exciting possibilities for Jamaican entrepreneurs.

Beyond these new ventures, he also highlighted emerging trends that hold immense potential. Regarding this, the tourism minister said: “Explore emerging opportunities such as sustainable tourism initiatives, cultural festivals, sports tourism, medical tourism and educational tourism, which can be beneficial.”

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Finally, Minister Bartlett highlighted the importance of enhancing the visitor experience. He listed community-based tourism, technology integration, environmental sustainability, and exceptional gastronomy and shopping experiences as areas in which Jamaica can excel and differentiate itself from the competition.

“By thinking outside the box, we can unlock a wider range of opportunities beyond traditional resorts,” Minister Bartlett expressed. He continued: “By spreading the benefits of tourism throughout Jamaica, we can create a brighter future for everyone – citizens, businesses and visitors alike.”

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