KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Tourism Linkages Hub, a division of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, recently released the findings of a Tourism Demand Study. The study, which is now available on the Ministry’s website, was designed to identify the existing/ potential demand in the tourism sector for goods and services across local sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and entertainment.
The findings of the Study were summarized by Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, at a press briefing hosted by the Tourism Linkages Council Chairman Donovan Perkins, on February 2. There, members of the council shared that this groundbreaking study is a useful tool for business owners and had the potential to transform the state of the local economy.
“The tourism demand study has a wealth of information that will help guide businesses as to the many opportunities that lie within tourism,” said Perkins.
The study, commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, was conducted by the Centre for Leadership and Governance and funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF). It highlights the fact that though the sector is primarily satisfied by local suppliers many products are still being imported in large quantities.
In fact, the annual leakages due to imports amount to J$65.4 billion in the manufacturing sector and between J$1.6 billion and J$5.0 billion in the agricultural sector, amounting to some J$70 billion.
In manufacturing, the opportunities for increased linkages with local suppliers to facilitate import substitution are in producing items such as: alcoholic beverages, sanitizers, bed frames, headboards, chairs, pillows, towels, standing lamps and toothpaste. While in the agricultural sector, some of the items include: apples, cantaloupes, iceberg lettuce, Irish potatoes, red jumbo onions, rice and sweet corn.
If this can be supplied locally, it would potentially meet the projected demand for agricultural and manufactured goods.
At the briefing, Dr. McNeill shared that the research also pinpointed the constraints which currently prevent local manufactures and farmers from meeting the growing demands of the industry.
“My Ministry will be working closely with various agencies, ministries and local suppliers to address the constraints and limitations. We will be taking into consideration some of the recommendations of the study to assist suppliers in meeting the needs of the sector,” said Dr. McNeill.
Project Manager of the Linkages Hub, Mrs. Carolyn McDonald-Riley, has stated that there is a Linkages Opportunities Forum planned for the second quarter of the year to provide further details on these opportunities.