Bartlett Outlines 'Pillars' For Swift Jamaica Tourism Arrivals Growth
PHOTO: Jamaica’s government will “focus on new products” as part of a plan to energize the country’s visitor arrivals. At YS Falls in Jamaica’s St. Elizabeth parish. (photo by Brian Major)
Three months after returning to his present position as Jamaica’s tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett this week set lofty visitor arrival goals for the Caribbean destination. The minister issued a “five-pillar strategy” to increase arrivals to five million annually by 2021.
In an address in Jamaica’s Parliament Tuesday, Bartlett said Jamaica’s tourism sector, which last year hosted 2.1 million visitors and has recorded more than two million visitors in each of the past two years, has underperformed.
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He said the country’s government would “take a new path” and identified “tapping into new markets, developing new products, promoting investment and building new partnerships and developing human capital” as the “pillars” of his plan.
He added that five “networks” or “key sectors” underscore the pillars: gastronomy, sports and entertainment, health and wellness, shopping and knowledge.” The integration of the pillars with networks will “incorporate as many Jamaicans into tourism (as possible) and spread its benefits,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett said tourism jobs represent less than 10 percent of Jamaica’s workforce and “value added earnings” from tourism total less than five percent of Jamaica’s gross domestic product (GDP). An increase to five million annual visitors would create 125,000 jobs, Bartlett said.
The tourism minister’s comments Tuesday echo sentiments he previously expressed in a March interview with TravelPulse.com, where he said Jamaica’s arrivals growth needed to expand significantly.
Earlier this year, Bartlett also promised to invigorate intra-Caribbean travel and tourism as a means of boosting arrivals. Jamaica is looking to formalize a multi-destination arrangement with Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Bartlett said at a ceremony in Kingston reported by the government-run Jamaica Information Service.
“More connectivity and flights to the island,” he said, will “boost visitor arrivals and add value to the tourism product in the region.”
During his Tuesday address to Jamaica’s parliament, Bartlett also promised to enhance the country’s safety and security with regards to visitors.
He said Jamaica is training 87 district constables under a “new initiative to ensure strict enforcement of the rule of law and effectively address tourist harassment.” The constables would have policing powers and focus on resort areas.
“To preserve our reputations as a destination in which crime against tourists is negligible, we will be doing much more to preserve the safety and security of our visitors,” he said.
“However, the efforts of the government must be augmented by the private security framework which hotels and other properties have as security is everyone’s responsibility.”
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