KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday November 29, 2017 – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says the island will continue to aggressively pursue a multi-destination marketing arrangement with Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, saying that will inevitably lead to sustainable growth.
He added that the country must also seek regional cooperation in related areas such as aviation and airlift strategies.
“There must also be visa facilitation and access to each other’s destinations, as well as pre-clearance arrangements. This also has significant implications for marketing, which could help position the Caribbean as a powerful holiday destination,” the minister said at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference which is underway in Jamaica.
Bartlett argued that in moving forward, local stakeholders must also recognize the importance of workforce development in the tourism sector.
“Tourism remains one of the country’s most labour-intensive sectors, and capacity-building and the welfare of tourism workers are critical to the region’s ability to promote sustainable tourism development,” he said.
“We must commit ourselves to the constant training and retraining of our tourism workers; to engendering collegial relationships between staff and management and to providing for the welfare development of tourism workers through initiatives aimed at ensuring they have access to scholarships, internships, insurance coverage and home-owning opportunities.”
Bartlett said this was important to ensure that tourism workers continue to deliver quality service, which is the hallmark of any globally competitive tourism product.
“To promote workforce development, my ministry has already established a pension scheme for tourism workers, and we intend to develop solutions that will allow hotel workers to access affordable housing opportunities,” he said.
The Minister noted that the overwhelming success of the region’s tourism product has largely been as a result of the synergies and symbiotic relationships that have traditionally existed between the hotels and other linked sectors and enterprises, which have all played a major role in guaranteeing the totality of the local tourist experience.
“Indeed, tourism is nothing without the vast network of micro, small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (MSMTEs) that contribute significantly to the authenticity and quality of the tourism experience, enhance destination competitiveness, contribute to enhanced brand image that helps to forge positive local networks and enhance productivity,” Bartlett said.
“We must continue to protect and deepen these synergies to ensure that more local businesses can continue to benefit from tourism.”
The Minister said he was optimistic that at the end of the conference, a global agenda would be crafted that seeks to design collaborative approaches to mitigate shared tourism risks and strengthen resilience, as well as build consensus around the strategies necessary to further position global tourism as a catalyst for promoting inclusive economic growth, sustainable livelihoods, environmental sustainability and social development.