Tourism Can Aid Greatly in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals – Bartlett

Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett highlighted the importance of the sector in this regard while addressing participants at a special side event during the United Nations (UN) High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development recently.

During the panel discussion, held at the UN headquarters in New York City, Mr. Bartlett was asked to share the challenges and opportunities within the context of championing tourism resilience, that he currently faces as a minister in putting tourism front and center in efforts for achieving the SDGs.

He presented tourism as often being the only viable economic sector generating mass employment for residents and income opportunities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. This became particularly evident post-COVID when tourism demonstrated that it was the main engine of growth for an economy that had been devastated by the pandemic.

Measured against the 17 SDGs, Minister Bartlett said: “The tourism sector has demonstrated its enormous potential to deliver results in relation to several of these.”

In Jamaica, he said:

“Tourism remains one of the most labor-intensive sectors of the national economy.”

“It generates jobs not only in the sector, but through its value chain in many other sectors such as the cultural industries, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, handicrafts, health, financial services, or information and communication technologies.” He said ultimately by keeping thousands of Jamaicans employed and earning wages that stimulate consumption in the broader national economy, tourism was a significant catalyst of poverty reduction.

Minister Bartlett stated that the tourism sector promoted social inclusiveness and inclusive economic growth by generating a wide range of employment opportunities for Jamaicans across all age ranges, skill levels, educational levels, social and economic classes and geographical locations. Also, with more than 60% of tourism workers being women, the sector was contributing positively to their economic empowerment.

In spite of the positive attributes, Mr. Bartlett admitted that there were long-standing challenges presenting implications for the transition of the tourism sector to sustainability. Minister Bartlett argued that generally, tourism development in Small Island Developing States (SIDs) such as Jamaica typically highlighted the difficulty of balancing economic development with environmental sustainability since the tourism product in these countries was considerably based on the exploitation of depleting natural resources.

He noted that issues such as the pervasiveness of ‘economic leakage,’ and making the sector more inclusive needed to be addressed globally. Minister Bartlett maintained however, that the challenges he outlined were not insurmountable as economic growth and environmental sustainability were not in conflict and “countries like Jamaica have significant potential to accelerate the development of niche tourism markets that balance economic growth with environmental sustainability such as eco-tourism, health and wellness tourism and culture and heritage tourism.”

Media Contact:

Corporate Communications Division

Ministry of Tourism

64 Knutsford Boulevard

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Kingston 5

Telephone: 920-4924,

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Kingsley Roberts

Senior Director, Corporate Communications

Ministry of Tourism

64 Knutsford Boulevard

Kingston 5

Tel: 920-4926-30, ext.: 5990

Cell: (876) 505-6118

Fax: 920-4944

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Linda Hohnholz