“Our Tourism Strategy Must Strengthen Linkages and Prevent Leakages” – Bartlett

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has expressed that, in developing Jamaica’s new Tourism Strategy and Action Plan (TSAP), greater focus will have to be placed on strengthening linkages with other sectors and preventing economic leakages.

He was speaking yesterday at the Spanish Court Hotel as the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), successfully concluded its island wide series of tourism strategy consultation workshops, with the final session being held with stakeholders from the Kingston and St. Andrew destination area.

The tourism minister highlighted that the strategy must have an emphasis on reinforcing linkages between tourism and other productive sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing, to prevent economic leakages, as the sector prepares to meet the sustained and increased demand of visitors over the next few years. In this regard, Minister Bartlett noted: “Our strategy in tourism must drive the linkages in the various areas, to stop the leakages from other areas.”

The workshops, which have garnered valuable insights from several stakeholders across Jamaica’s seven destination areas, form a part of the Ministry’s thrust to develop a comprehensive new strategy and action plan for the country’s vital tourism industry.

“The discussion today is critical if we are going to be able to create the capacity to respond to the new architecture that tourism will demand,” the tourism minister added.

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He continued: “Our strategies must also consider how we make tourism more inclusive and more of an enabler of economic growth and development across Jamaica.”

Recognizing that human capital development remains at the heart of the industry, Minister Bartlett stressed: “Our people are the wealth of this country. So, we must build the capacity of that wealth not to be dead capital but for that wealth to continue to grow exponentially.”

Importantly, Minister Bartlett also acknowledged the unique challenges and opportunities each destination area presents. Kingston, for instance, with its rich cultural heritage, he said is poised to become a key player in tourism diversification efforts.

“Today in Kingston, the vibrant hub of Caribbean culture, our focus is on enhancing Jamaica’s benefits from cultural tourism while also fostering its role as a key center for business tourism growth,” explained Minister Bartlett.

The consultation workshops, one held for each destination, provided a platform for investors, entrepreneurs, government officials, community members, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to collectively examine issues affecting Jamaica’s evolving tourism landscape.

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Linda Hohnholz