Jamaica News: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says for tourism to maximise its full potential, every Jamaican must be factored in any growth strategy going forward.
Addressing a press conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on July 6, the Minister said global trends show that tourist destinations that do not promote high levels of linkages will not produce substantial economic development and may even “foster resentment” of the industry by local residents.
“Our growth agenda must remain people-centred and aligned with broader national economic and social imperatives. It is important that we understand that sustainable tourism must mean inclusive growth that will expand economic benefits to our local population, and in the process help to move people’s lives from poverty to prosperity,” Mr. Bartlett argued.
He emphasised that the tourism sector must not only generate prosperity and wealth for a few but must be inclusive to where all Jamaicans feel “they have a legitimate shot at a piece of the pie”.
“The sector must also seek to preserve the natural and cultural resources of our beautiful island,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett said the industry must also help to strengthen linkages with other sectors of the economy, particularly the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. “It is also important to strengthen the benefits derived from the industry by local residents and communities, so as to promote broader participation by our people,” he said.
Noting that community tourism is a priority area of “sustainable tourism”, the Minister said that Jamaica’s National Community Tourism Policy and Strategy “envisions” an invigorated tourism sector in communities that enriches quality of life through social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits, while exemplifying sustainable livelihoods.
“We have also established our Tourism Linkages Network, which has a mandate of promoting sustainable tourism development in Jamaica by developing and strengthening sustainable linkages between the tourism sector and other productive sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, manufacturing and the creative industries, including entertainment,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He also pointed to the “wonderful work being done” by the Tourism Linkages Council, which is made up of public- and private-sector partners who oversee the coordination and implementation of effective and sustainable strategies that strengthen and facilitate linkages.
Meanwhile, the Minister argued that if Jamaica intends to continue to be globally competitive, “we must find ways to unlock new sources of competitiveness”.
One approach, he said, would be to diversify offerings to attract new markets, as international travellers have become far more demanding and have higher expectations of the destinations to which they travel.
The Minister pointed out that international tourism trends are showing a shift from the traditional ‘sun, sea and sand’ and more towards interactive experiential tourism.
“We have to continue appealing to markets interested in gastronomy, nature, heritage and cultural experiences. Our tourism sector must continue to position itself to tap into these emerging markets that constitute the future of global tourism,” Mr. Bartlett said.
Source: JIS News