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Kingston, Jamaica, May 30, 2015: Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has called on countries with strong tourism earnings to practise responsible tourism by developing critical national awareness of the ways in which tourism can improve the quality of life and welfare of their citizens. Minister McNeill was giving the Chairman’s address at the opening ceremony of the 100th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Executive Council in Rovinj, Croatia, earlier this week.
“Over the past few years, tourism has proven to be a strong and resilient economic activity and a significant contributor to the global recovery. International tourist arrivals reported by destinations around the world reached 1,138 million in 2014, a 4.7% increase over the previous year,” the Minister stated as he addressed some 200 delegates attending the Executive Council session.
The Minister further stated that as the world’s largest industry, tourism reportedly provides a job for one in nine workers worldwide.
“In many of our member nations it employs a large percentage of our labour force. We are cognizant of the need for even greater emphasis on sustainability.
“This is essential to ensure long-term economic gains that provide benefits to all socioeconomic groups and across other sectors through strong promotion of linkages. Equally important is collaboration with private-sector stakeholders to ensure compliance and active support of regulations and initiatives designed to preserve our natural and built environment. We must ensure that community tourism efforts emphasize meaningful involvement at the grassroots,” he added.
Jamaica was elected to chair the Executive Committee of the world body for the year 2014-2015, the first English–speaking Caribbean nation to do so.
The Minister will travel from Rovinj to London where he will hold consultations with Jamaica Tourist Board representatives and other tourism interests.