Bartlett touts 'innovation city' to greatly help plug leakage of tourism earnings

Bartlett touts 'innovation city' to greatly help plug leakage of tourism earnings

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says the creation of what he calls a Tourism Innovation City in Montego Bay, St James shall help the island retain more of the wages from tourism.

Speaking at the Montego Bay Chamber of Industry&rsquo and Commerce; s Investment and Business forum held at the SeaGarden On October 19 beach Resort, Bartlett said: “To create out a tourism economy which will be beneficial to Montego Bay, that is the heartbeat of tourism in Jamaica, the forward and backward linkages should be in place so when that occurs tourism costs will quickly fall and revenues from consumption increase.”

He said the innovation city will be tasked with developing regions of textile, farming and manufacturing, among other things to improve capacity on the supply side of the tourism value chain.

Bartlett, in a today release from the tourism ministry, described the Dominican Republic, whose revenue retention from tourism is 50cents on each forex earned. “That is so since they own the supply side – they manufacture uniforms for the sector and also have processing plants to help make the chutneys and jams needed by the guests. That’s where a Tourism Innovation City in Jamaica would help produce more of the things needed in the sector,” he explained.

Jamaica retains about 30 % of its earnings from tourism. The island earned some US$3 billion from tourism this past year.

According to the tourism minister, “If Jamaica would be to earn much more of the forex earned by visitors, we should manage to reduce importation of the inputs necessary for the sector and increase our capability to supply on the demand.”

Bartlett said he was in discussion with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to build up the innovation city at Grange Pen and Barrett Hall in St James. 

“The Tourism Innovation City will generate a circular economy where there is nothing wasted and everything is utilised fully and the resources, earnings and income, stay within that space,” Bartlett said. “Whenever we are finished building out Grange Pen and Barrett Hall, this is a fertile area because of this great experiment and I’m in discussion with the Urban Development Corporation that are to accomplish a design because of this innovation city.”