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Kingston, Jamaica: March 8, 2016 – Hon. Edmund Bartlett has once again been appointed Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, following the swearing in of Jamaica’s new Government at Kings House yesterday (March 7). Minister Bartlett previously served as Tourism Minister from 2007-2011 and replaces Wykeham McNeill, who held the portfolio from 2011-2016, under the Portia Simpson Miller-led government.
During a meeting with Ministry staff today, Minister. Bartlett expressed pleasure at returning to the Ministry for a second stint. He stated that economic growth and development are central to the new administration’s growth agenda and that tourism has to play a vital role in this regard. “We have to go beyond the two and three percent growth we’ve had over the years and get into double digit growth,” the newly appointed Minister noted.
Minister Bartlett has been a member of the Jamaican parliament for more than 30 years, with a solid track record of service as a legislator in central government in both Chambers of Parliament. He was Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Sports & Community Development from 1980 to1989; later he served as Senator and Opposition Spokesman of various portfolios, including Tourism, from 1989 to 2007.
Mr. Bartlett’s has also represented Jamaica regionally and internationally and currently chairs the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). He is the first to serve on the executive of both the public and private sector arms of this prestigious organization. He served as second vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers during his tenure as tourism minister in 2011.
Jamaica ranks third in annual visitor arrivals among the 28 destinations tracked by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), exceeded only by the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The island recorded a significant increase in visitor arrivals for 2015. Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) figures show arrivals totaling a record 3.7 million last year, 5.3% over 2014. Stopover arrivals increased by 2.1 per cent to 2.1 million travellers and cruise arrivals rose by 10.2 per cent to 1.6 million passengers.