Jamaica News: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the targets under the 5x5x5 plan are way ahead of schedule, placing the sector on an unprecedented growth path.
The five-year growth targets, set in 2016, are aimed at attracting five million tourists, generating US$5 billion in earnings, and increasing total direct employment to 125,000, while adding 15,000 rooms.
“In only three years, we have either achieved some of our targets or we are close to achieving others. We are way ahead of projections and should easily achieve the 5x5x5 by 2021,” Minister Bartlett told JIS News.
He said that the sector currently employs 127,600 workers directly with induced and indirect employment at approximately 250,000.
“We have been strategic and deliberate in our growth strategies and it has paid off, as now we have exceeded our employment targets just two years shy of the timeline set,” he noted.
He said that arrivals and earnings are “well within striking distance” in year three of the five-year projection, showing increases of nine per cent and 10.2 per cent, respectively.
“Arrivals as of now stand at 4.4 million, while earnings are at US$3.7 million,” the Minister noted.
Meanwhile, Minister Bartlett said that increased focus is being placed on human capital development, with the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) recently graduating its third batch of students since its inception in 2017.
“We will have qualified workers with professional certification in the sector,” he said.
“The facility offers a practical curriculum that complements existing hospitality programmes at several tertiary institutions. Between October 2018 and now, 1,342 participants have graduated from the JCTI,” he said.
He said that the JCTI is on track to train and certify 8,000 workers over the next five years to meet the demands of the sector.
Certification programmes offered by the JCTI include Hospitality Instructor, Culinary Tutor, Bartender Tutor, Hospitality Supervisor, Chef, Bartenders and American Culinary Federation (ACF) Evaluator.
Next year, the JCTI will launch its Job Site, which is a website to connect certified workers in the sector to job vacancies and for business operators to find employees.
Source: JIS News