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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica; January 30, 2019: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says tourism is driving positive change by creating jobs and injecting revenue into local communities while helping to spark innovation and provide opportunities for Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs).
“We are strengthening the linkages between tourism and other sectors of the economy to increase the economic impact of tourism. Through our five Tourism Linkages Networks – Gastronomy, Health and Wellness, Shopping, Knowledge and Sport and Entertainment – we have been leveraging SMTEs to build out our visitor experiences,” said the Minister.
The Minister was speaking at the 2nd Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), hosted at the Montego Bay Convention Centre by the government and the United Nations World Tourism Association on January 29.
The Ministry of Tourism, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), has been spearheading a number of initiatives to support the financial needs of the SMTE subsector and through the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank), several players in that sector have been benefiting from a billion-dollar revolving loan fund.
In his remarks, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw commended the Ministry for this initiative and added that “In my Ministry, in collaboration with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture has also formulated the National Craft Policy, aimed at facilitating improvement of quality, variety, value, sale and customer satisfaction in the Jamaican economy.”
He also noted that, “for tourism to be sustainable, it has to work for everyone, including our farmers, entrepreneurs and entertainers. In light of our expanding tourism and hospitality market, we support every effort to make the industry a truly inclusive one.”
Minister Bartlett also stressed the importance of the tourism industry, and used the opportunity to urge SMTE stakeholders to take full advantage of the information and opportunities that the conference will provide.
“80% of global tourism is owned by SMTEs but 80% of the returns from tourism go to the 20% of those who invest. So when we go to look at the real beneficiaries of tourism, it is not the owners of tourism. This conference will examine that.
At the centre of that recognition is the simple fact that tourism today is the largest industry in the world, 10.4% of global GDP, 1 in 11 of all workers of the world employed to tourism, US $385 billion of foreign investment across borders, 30% of trading services and US $8 trillion of expenditure last year by 1.5 billion people who travelled across the world last year,” said the Minister.