While addressing the awardees at the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s (TEF’s) highly-anticipated Staff Awards Dinner recently, Jamaica Tourism Minister Bartlett shared that “we don’t have oil, gold or precious stones, but millions of people across the globe still visit our shores to experience our greatest resource – our people. So, it is our duty to ensure that their needs are taken care of and that they receive the best opportunities for learning so that we can continuously improve the tourism industry here in Jamaica.”
Minister Bartlett said TEF has been repositioned to drive the Ministry’s mission to foster the significant growth and development of the industry’s human capital.
He also explained that thus far, the Ministry has undertaken key TEF-funded projects such as the Craft Development Institute (CDI), to be completed for September 2018; Jamaica Centre for Tourism and Innovation, which will target training and certification for the hospitality industry’s labor force; and the Tourism Worker’s Pension Scheme, which is set to benefit tourism workers upon retirement.
“TEF is one of the best administered agencies in government. I am so proud of all the work they have done over the years to improve the country’s tourism product. So far, the agency has spent some J$30 billion to improve infrastructure, preserve our heritage sites and to enhance the country’s overall visitor experience. I know that the work we will continue to do moving forward will be equally impactful, as we seek to harness those values which tourism has, to create the prosperity that we seek for our nation,” said the Minister.
Also sharing in the celebrations at the awards ceremony, were members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which supports aviation with global standards for airline safety, security, efficiency and sustainability.
“I am so happy that we are also joined by our friends at the IATA, as it reinforces the uniqueness of the Fund and that the small fee we are collecting from airline ticket sales is indeed being specifically used for tourism purposes,” said the Minister.
The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) was established on May 1, 2005 for the sole purpose of implementing the recommendations emanating from the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development, 2002.
The Tourism Master Plan provides the framework in which TEF will fulfil its mandate of promoting growth and development in the tourism sector, encouraging better management of environmental resources in Jamaica, enhancing the country’s overall tourist experience, and providing for the sustainable development of the tourism sector.