Tourism entities, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are being encouraged to pivot and pursue ideas and innovations that can fuel value-added outputs and spur further growth in the sector.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in making the call, said that this is crucial in the collective quest to drive the industry’s continued recovery from the fallout caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“When I travel, the first question people ask me is ‘what’s new… what’s different… what’s fresh [about Jamaica]; when I come to Jamaica, what will I see that I [won’t] see anywhere else?’ The only way we can secure that [interest] is by building on ideas,” Mr. Bartlett said.
“It is ideas that [are] now going to give you that power to add value to the processes that distinguish yourselves from everything and everyone else,” the Minister added.
He was addressing a business development information session for small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs), at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (June 8).
Mr. Bartlett said that the “age of knowledge” spurred by heightened infusion and utilisation of digital processes, consequent on the pandemic, is forcing SMEs to “manufacture ideas”.
He noted that the post-pandemic era is going to continue to be “heavily influenced” by the digital revolution.
“While we speak about how this technology is going to change the world, I want you to recognise that in every one of you is that power to drive the change… and the power is called ideas”.
He highlighted opportunities through the innovation incubator that has been established to nurture new and start-up tourism enterprises.
“We have $31 million for this year’s budget to go and mine ideas, to find young people all across Jamaica with ideas, because tourism is driven by ideas,” the Minister pointed out.
“We want to invest more and more in ideas… because Jamaica’s future is not about the tried and proven, it’s about the value-added, it’s about the new and the different,” he added.
The business development session, which was hosted by the TEF, was aimed at encouraging information sharing among SMTEs.
The objective is to raise awareness about business development resources available to these entities through the Government and other stakeholders.
The event’s outcomes are also expected to support continuous SMTE growth and expansion, thereby improving their ability to supply the tourism industry.
Among the participating stakeholders were the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), National Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of Jamaica, Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Scientific Research Council (SRC), Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), JN Bank Small Business Loans, and the UNESCO Creative Caribbean Grant Project.
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