Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Unveils Plans for Isle’s Future

Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, has charted out a plan of action to secure visitors and boost earnings.

Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, has charted out a plan of action to secure visitors and boost earnings.

Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, says the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) main goals during his tenure will be to secure five million visitors by 2021. By that timeline, JTB also intends to generate $5 billion in tourism earnings, increase the total direct jobs to 125,000 and add 15,000 new hotel rooms to the country’s inventory.

Bartlett made these statements as part of his tourism master plan that he presented to the Parliament of Jamaica late last month in Kingston. Travel Agent was also in attendance. He explained that the plan would be implemented through JTB’s “Five Pillars of Tourism Growth,” which include tapping into new markets, developing new products, promoting investment, building new partnerships and developing human capital.

Underscoring these five pillars of growth, Bartlett says, are five networks, incorporating several key sectors that will better integrate tourism with the wider society and thereby better spread the benefits to all Jamaicans. These five networks are gastronomy, sports and entertainment, health and wellness, shopping and knowledge.

“Together, Mr. Speaker, that renewed architecture of pillars and networks will be enveloped by the need to strengthen and expand linkages with our local agriculture, manufacturing and the service sector and importantly, encourage us to aggressively push multi-destination tourism as a response to the new global tourism realities, including the gradual rise of Cuba,” said Bartlett. He also noted that Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during his recent trip to Cuba, signed a groundbreaking agreement that will see Jamaica partnering with Cuba on tourism under a multi-destination tourism framework.

Bartlett told Parliament that performance figures for 2015 indicate that Jamaica recorded 3.6 million stopovers and cruise visitors combined, revenues of $2.5 billion, and grew by 2.1 percent for stopover arrivals. For the winter period January to April, Jamaica recorded a total of 773,458 stopover visitors and 745,220 cruise arrivals amounting to 1,518,678 visitors overall. This represents a 7.6 percent increase over the same period for 2015.

Other highlights of Bartlett’s address include:

* Jamaica has succeeded in increasing airlift and has secured adequate seats to ensure a good winter and a successful summer.

*Cruise marketing has now been added to the portfolio of the Ministry of Tourism as part of a strategic move to further boost cruise arrivals.

*JTB is aggressively pushing ahead with plans to construct artisan villages in resort areas across the island.

For a full report on Minister Edmund Bartlett’s address the Parliament of Jamaica, visit www.travelagentcentral.com.