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Tourism Barely Scratched the Surface of its Potential

Tourism to the rescue of Saint Vincent
Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett

Even with the great success that Jamaica’s tourism was experiencing before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett believes they have merely scratched the surface of this industry’s vast potential.

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  1. There lies an opportunity in this COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
  2. Despite the devastating impact of the pandemic on global tourism economies, as plans are put together and set in place to rebuild, now is the perfect time to re-imagine the industry.
  3. This is an opportunity to create a tourism product that is safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.

Minister Bartlett spoke at the meeting of the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association (CARAIA) held at the AC Hotel by Marriott in New Kingston, Jamaica, today, July 29, 2021. Read – or listen to – what he had to say.

INTRODUCTION

Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries, driving socio-economic development, growth in investments, job creation, and infrastructural development.

The pre-pandemic numbers tell the story.  In 2019, a thriving global travel and tourism industry accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and supported the livelihoods of 334 million people (10.6% of all jobs). Meanwhile, international visitor spending amounted to US$1.7 trillion.

Regionally, Caribbean destinations received an estimated 32.0 million international tourist arrivals, which contributed nearly US$59 billion U.S. dollars to the nations’ GDP, US$35.7 billion in visitors’ spending, and supported 2.8 million jobs (15.2% of total employment).

While locally, 2019 was a record-breaking year for tourism arrivals and earnings.  We welcomed 4.2 million visitors, the sector earned US$3.7 billion, contributed 9.8% to the nation’s GDP, accounted for 17.0% of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and generated some 170,000 direct jobs while indirectly affecting another 100,000.

Pre-crisis, tourism also drove 15% of construction, 10% of banking and finance, 20% of manufacturing and 21% of utilities as well as agriculture and fisheries. Overall, the tourism sector grew by 36% over the past 30 years against total economic growth of 10%.

When you add that Jamaica is situated in the Caribbean, the world’s most tourism-reliant region, then you can understand the importance of tourism to Jamaica’s wider post-pandemic economic recovery.

Investment in tourism offers one of the best opportunities for Jamaica to recover and strengthen its economy. Therefore, I am pleased to have been invited to speak to representatives of the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association (CARAIA) today so we can explore tourism investment opportunities that will spur the growth of an industry that contributes immeasurably to the social and economic wellbeing of our people.

Jamaica Tourism Minister Bartlett mourns passing of Alfred Hoilett
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About the author

Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.

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