Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett says that sector is being positioned to meet the demands of today’s travelers.
In that regard, Minister Bartlett identified the need for three elements to aid the SMTE sector, including training to build capacity, funding for capital development and marketing support.
His remarks were directed at 55 graduates in the third cohort of trainees in the Central Jamaica Social Development Initiative (CJSDI) Youth Entrepreneurship Training Program at their graduation ceremony on Thursday, August 17, 2023, at Tropics View Hotel.
“The SMTEs are indispensable to the tourism industry,” stated Mr. Bartlett, but “something is wrong with that picture as “only 20 percent of the returns from tourism goes to this 80 percent.” The three pillars were, therefore, being used to correct the imbalance and build their “to develop more ideas to be able to bring more products on stream and then to fund your capacity to increase the number and the higher quality and, finally, to provide the market for you so that you could get the price you want for the goods that you have provided.”
Mr. Bartlett said the artisan village at the cruise ship port in Falmouth, and others to follow, were being developed with that concept in mind.
“One of the key reasons why small businesses are vital to our tourism industry is their ability to offer unique and authentic experiences.”
Minister Bartlett added, “So what we’re saying then is that we must create quality, build capacity and strong standards so that there is no gainsaying of the authenticity and quality of the product.”
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According to the tourism minister, travelers today were increasingly seeking authentic experiences and wanting to immerse themselves in the local way of life and “small businesses are well positioned to meet this demand by offering personalized tours, locally sourced products and intimate accommodations that showcase the destination’s true essence.”
He also underscored that small businesses had a profound economic impact on the communities in which they operate, create jobs, generate income and contribute to the local economy. With billions of dollars being generated by the industry annually and efforts to make it truly Jamaican, the Ministry of Tourism, through its Linkages Network, “continues to work relentlessly to ensure that the supply needs of the hotel and hospitality sectors are met by Jamaican producers and manufacturers.”
One of the core objectives of the CJSDI programme is to provide these young entrepreneurs with the skills to transform fledgling businesses into successful entities that meet global standards and give graduates small grant funding to support their entrepreneurial goals. The training was conducted in partnership with other public agencies, including the HEART/NSTA Trust, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ).
“As graduates of the CJSDI you have been given the skills, mentorship and know-how to transform your businesses into thriving entities that can eventually meet global standards in productivity,” Minister Bartlett encouraged them.
SEEN IN IMAGE: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (at podium), addresses the third cohort of 55 graduates of the Central Jamaica Social Development Initiative (CJSDI) Youth Entrepreneurship Training Program at the Tropics View Hotel in Mandeville on Thursday, August 17, 2023. Seated at right is Managing Director of the CJSDI, Mr. Damion Young.