The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus presents the tourism sector with a major and evolving challenge. In light of this, Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, provided the nation with an update on the COVID-19 tourism impact the pandemic has had locally and the plans in place to cushion the impact. Read what he had to say here:
It is well known that today that tourism is the largest and most important industry in the world employing just over 450 million people representing some 11 percent of global employment and generating US$8.8 trillion of expenditure which is about 10.9 percent of global GDP.
The impact of the coronavirus on most of the originating destinations for tourism has been huge, certainly in Asia, certainly in Europe and definitely here in the Americas. But perhaps the more telling … has been to small highly tourism dependent regions such as those of us in the Caribbean. Just by way of straight data of the 20 most dependent countries in the world on tourism, the Caribbean has 10 led by the British Virgin Island with 92.6 dependence. And of course, this is followed by Antigua and Barbuda, and Aruba, and a number of other countries – Barbados, The Bahamas, Saint Lucia, and Jamaica. And Jamaica is in fact just one point ahead of Cayman. Cayman tops the top 10 of the most dependent regions.
So how we get out of this and how quickly we get out of this is critical to the future development of the economies of these regions and arguably the world. Several strong positions are being advanced, by the most important of all is the medical responses, and Jamaica has been, thanks to our Minister of Health and Wellness, the Honorable Dr. Christopher Tufton, to the leadership of our Prime Minster the most Honorable Andrew Holness, and the technical team of the Ministry, we have been pacing in good line to minimize the impact on us if we as a people and nation continue to obey the guidelines given and follow the protocols established.