By Garwin Davis
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett says the tourism sector has grown by 36 percent over the past 30 years, against a total economic growth of 10 percent. He noted that the sector is the single largest contributor to Jamaica’s gross domestic product (GDP), as well as a main source of foreign revenues.
“It is multidimensional and multifaceted, interfacing with nearly every economic sector, including agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, finance, the creative and cultural industries, construction and many other services. “To put it in perspective, tourism drives 15 percent of construction, 10 percent of banking and finance, 20 percent of manufacturing, and 21 percent of utilities, agriculture, and fisheries,” he added.
The minister was speaking at a Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy (DAFS) consultation meeting at the Negril Community Centre, Norman Manley Boulevard, Westmoreland on March 23.
Bartlett also pointed to the quick recovery of the tourism sector, following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that 2022, was a record year.
“We closed the year with some 3.3 million visitors and earnings of US$3.6 billion. Furthermore, 2023 is shaping up to be another record year with stopover arrivals for the first ten weeks at 558,119, a 55.6 percent increase over the same period last year,” he stated.
The minister stressed the importance of keeping the sector on a growth trajectory, noting that as it grows, more Jamaicans will benefit from “this larger tourism pie”.
Bartlett also highlighted the importance of destination assurance, which has been a key feature of the country’s tourism model over the years.
“It is key to future tourism success…it prioritizes health and safety, while positioning Jamaica as the premiere holiday choice for sun, sea and sand and everything in between,” he stated.
“It is defined as Jamaica’s brand promise to visitors that assures an authentic, safe, and seamless experience which is respectful towards the community and the environment. The ultimate goal of destination assurance is to increase visitor satisfaction,” he added,
Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), is key to this process.
“[TPDCo] is tasked with ensuring that the quality, standards, and integrity of Jamaica’s tourism product are maintained. It serves as the central facilitator, encouraging cooperation and collaboration among government entities, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations,” the minister said.
The DAFS serves as a long-term blueprint to guide the ministry and its partners to strengthen, further develop and implement strategies, that will ensure continuous improvement in the delivery and management of quality throughout the tourism value chain.