Jamaica News: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) is well on its way to achieving its target of certifying some 8,000 workers over the next five years.
He noted that the facility, launched in 2017 as the training arm of the Ministry, has already facilitated the certification of more than 1,340 persons, in partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and the American Culinary Foundation (ACF).
“We have put in place a framework to equip our tourism workers to capitalise on the growing opportunities for high-skilled employment in the tourism and hospitality sector,” he said.
He noted that the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, “will help the sector achieve its human capital development goals through programmes of study at its first-ever Graduate School of Tourism to be established at its Western Jamaica Campus by next year”.
The Minister was speaking at the Golden Tourism Day Awards held recently at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, where 34 persons were recognised for 50 years or more of service to sector.
Mr. Bartlett said that the significance of professional certification cannot be overstated, and is a major component of the Ministry’s initiatives to enhance the welfare of tourism workers.
He cited the Tourism Pension Scheme, which is slated to come into effect in 2020, as another major initiative to benefit workers.
“It is the biggest human capital development game-changer in the history of Jamaica’s tourism sector, which will allow thousands of tourism workers to look forward to a worry-free and financially secure retirement,” Minister Bartlett said.
“However, we are not stopping there. The housing conditions of tourism workers are of particular concern to me. For this reason, the Ministry, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, has committed $1 billion over the next five years to assist workers to access appropriate housing solutions in the community of Grange Pen in St James,” he said.
He noted that the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) will oversee the infrastructure upgrade for the regularisation of 535 households in the community.
Mr. Bartlett said that ground has also been broken for construction of more than 754 affordable housing units in the Rhyne Park area of St. James under a joint venture agreement between the HAJ and the China-based Henan Fifth Construction Group.
The Minister commended the award recipients, noting that their “decades of dedicated service laid the foundation for an immensely successful sector, which has positioned us to give back to others”.
He noted that the tourism sector has evolved immensely in the last five decades and Jamaica has become a much sought after vacation destination, which, year after year, cops numerous major international travel trade awards in recognition of the quality of the tourism product.
“These awards truly belong to our tourism workers, whose hard work and service excellence have helped to build Jamaica’s tourism into the vibrant and viable sector that it is today. We could not do it without you,” Mr. Bartlett noted.
Source: JIS News