Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the sector is growing by leaps and bounds, attracting levels of both local and foreign investments never seen before.
“We are experiencing record visitor arrivals and earnings as well as a vibrant investment climate,” Mr. Bartlett told delegates and stakeholders at the opening of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) on September 24 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in St. James.
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“In fact, three hotels will be having official openings over the next two days right here in Montego Bay – Zoëtry, Breathless and Jewel Grande,” he informed.
The Minister said that in addition, his Ministry will continue to roll out initiatives to diversify the tourism product through the five Linkages Networks – Gastronomy, Health and Wellness, Sports and Entertainment, Knowledge, and Shopping – to attract more visitors to the island as well as generate additional earnings.
“While encouraging sector growth, we are putting in place the infrastructure to leverage this powerful sector to improve the socio-economic conditions of our people at all levels of the society, drive new growth in our communities and generate jobs,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett said the Tourism Linkages Network has been doing an excellent job of energising the process, noting that a great example is the Jamaica Suppliers Directory, which connects local manufacturers, suppliers and service providers with purchasing managers in the hotel and tourist industry.
“The directory is user-friendly, builds branding and recognition, and at the same time gives our local businesses access to a wider audience and bigger revenues. In addition, it is helping to further the Linkages Network’s primary mandate to increase the consumption of local goods and services by the tourism sector,” he argued.
Mr. Bartlett further noted that to accomplish the growth imperative, “we must ensure that all aspects of the tourism product are right and that we can truly deliver on what we promise when we market Jamaica”.
The Minister emphasised that a commitment to service excellence is integral to the success of the industry and that Jamaica, through the ongoing Tourism Service Excellence Programme (TSEP), will continue to encourage excellence from individuals and institutions that are an integral part of the tourism product.
“Our Tourism Service Excellence Awards (presentation) in March of this year was a great success, and nominations are now open for 2017. Our goal is to encourage every player in the tourism sector to deliver a positive and unforgettable service experience to all visitors by embracing the highest standards of service excellence,” he said.
The Minister added that the Ministry and its partners will continue to position Jamaica as the world’s destination of choice in terms of excellent customer service.