Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says that there is a growing need to build a smart and sustainable framework to better integrate Small and Medium Enterprises into the tourism value chain and to prevent leakages of the earnings from the industry.
“Tourism with its enormous capacity for economic development suffers from leakages, our job is to commence the discussion on how to create the linkages to stem the leakages in tourism.
So if we can build the platform for the Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises, that represent 80% of global tourism, if we can bring creative ideas and innovation to capital so the transformation can take place, then the inputs of tourism will be provided by the recipient destinations and the retention from tourism input into the economies, can stay into the countries,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister made this statement today at the staging of the 2nd Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), hosted at the Montego Bay Convention Centre by the government and the United Nations World Tourism Association.
This signature event is a direct response to the global conference on jobs and inclusive growth hosted in Jamaica in 2017, which brought to the fore many of the perennial challenges faced by SMTEs, including issues of access to credit, marketing, technology and business development.
The conference organisers therefore saw it prudent to have another event focused solely on SMTEs and best practices that have direct relevance to their development.
“This conference will help us to do two things. It will help us to channel the path that will enable the vision and the promise of inclusiveness from this great industry, to find a way to be realised. Secondly, for us to look at how we can bring ideas and capital together, to create that synergy that enables the transformation from concept and ideas into material goods and services that have a value to our people,” said Minister Bartlett.
He also added that, “Tourism is the single most important cohesive economic force in the world today. That cohesion cannot occur when there is huge disparity between those who are providers, conceptualisers and owners of the product and those who are the investors and the drivers that product needs.”
At the end of the conference, The Ministry of Tourism and the UNWTO hope to achieve tangible outcomes which will help to build sustainable economies that positively influence the lives of people around the world.