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Talking Points For Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism Welcome Reception Moravian Church World-Wide Synod Friday, August 12, 2016


  • Chairman
  • Director of Tourism, Mr. Paul Pennicook and other members of the JTB team
  • His Worship The Mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris
  • The Rev.  Dr. Errol Connor - President of the Synod
  • The Rev. Robert Hopcroft - President of the Unity Board and members of the

Executive Committee

  • The Rev. Dr. Paul Gardner - President of the Moravian Church in Jamaica and members of the Executive of the Moravian Church in Jamaica
  • Bishops, Presidents and delegates of the Moravian Church from across the globe
  • Members of the media
  • Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen….

Good evening…

  • It is my pleasure, as Minister of Tourism, to welcome you on behalf of the Ministry and its agencies, the Government and people of Jamaica, to our beautiful island for your World-Wide Synod.
  • The World-Wide Synod of the Moravian Church is held every seven years and we are pleased that it is Jamaica’s turn to host this gathering. I say that because it is really an opportune time for us: Not only do we welcome the spiritual blessing that you bring with you, but we also appreciate the contribution your presence is making to the growth of tourism and the national economic life of our people.
  • We are very happy to be hosting the one hundred delegates that are slated to participate, representing the 35 countries in which the Moravian Church ministers. I am sure after your all-too-short visit, those of you who have not been here before will want to return to experience more of what we offer.


  • But let me hasten to recognize the ministry of the Moravian Church in Jamaica. It is worth noting that this is your 259th year of ministry in Jamaica. Of special note is your emphasis on education and the 40 schools established by the Moravian Church across the country attest to that. Also, from as early as 1769 you have been undertaking significant community development programmes, notably through Unitas.
  • Next to tourism, agriculture is a major platform on which we must grow our economy and this is being fostered through our Tourism Linkages Network.

I am therefore pleased to note that as your community outreach arm, Unitas of Jamaica is involved in agriculture through a revolving herd scheme for small farmers, greenhouses, rural and urban vocational training, health clinics, inner-city youth programmes and senior citizen care.


  • Permit me to refer to an excerpt from your website which I find very insightful;

And I quote: “The Moravian Church is a warm, friendly, accepting atmosphere in which to grow in your relationships with God and people. We believe God created us for relationships – for solid, meaningful, loving relationships with God and people. This kind of relationship doesn’t just happen in a vacuum or in a harsh environment; it needs a nurturing environment where people really accept people, where warmth shines and radiates, where friendliness is a genuine and natural outcome as our relationships grow and mature.”  End quote.

  • This resonates with me as Minister of Tourism but also as a Jamaican because it speaks to who we are as a people. It was just two weeks ago that our people commemorated Emancipation Day and it must not be forgotten that some noted Moravians have played a pivotal role in advocating freedom from slavery, even as you have maintained your vigilance in pointing the way to freedom from man’s errant ways.
  • For instance, although provoking some controversy, in an article titled: “Moravian Missionaries and Slaves in the West Indies,” published in 1965, Oliver W. Furley stated: Quote “Moravian missionaries contributed probably more in the way of sensible preparation than any of the numerous mission societies in the field.” End quote

I will leave the controversy for historians to thrash out.

  • Your previous World-Wide Synod meeting in Jamaica was held 42 years ago, back in 1974 and your last one was held seven years ago in London. This gives added historical significance to Jamaica being your next stop because although the Moravian Church was established in England about two decades before it took root in Jamaica in 1754, your own records indicate that it was the presence of members from the Caribbean, and largely Jamaica, that put some spark in the British membership that led to growth locally.


  • We are open to welcoming the more than one million Moravians that comprise your world-wide membership. The love that you are receiving from the 30-odd thousand Moravians in Jamaica is reflective of all of us and that is one of the key elements that drive our tourism industry.
  • The Ministry of Tourism and its various agencies and our sector partners are committed to growing the industry to five million visitors annually over the next five years producing earnings of US five billion dollars by 2021.
  • It is therefore important that we better tap into new and existing markets, this entails capitalizing on the scope of MICE - the meetings, incentives, conventions and events market, under which faith-based tourism falls. It represents a significant part of the global travel industry and the International Congress and Conventions Association which has been tracking this market for the past 53 years, confirms that it has been growing at a significant rate.
  • So, Faith-based tourism has its part to play in our growth strategy. According to a noted publication for travel professionals - the Travel-Market Report, world-wide faith-based tourism contributes between US$ 50 billion and US$ 100 billion annually to the global economy.

If we are able to attract just one percent of that we would be happy. But simply wishing and hoping won’t make it happen.


  • The Jamaica Tourist Board has been analyzing the faith-based tourism market and a strategy is being rolled out to tap into the market.

This strategy recognizes that travel by religious groups takes on many shapes and purposes. Sectors include youth, pilgrimage, missionary work and fellowship. All of these segments are potential customers depending on the nature of the business or the destination. 

  • The Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA) founded in 1972, is a professional, non-profit, multi-faith organization involved in the planning and/or management of meetings, tutorials, conferences, conventions and assemblies for their religious organizations.  They have approximately 2,600 members who represent over 800 faith-based organizations.
  • The faith-based market has been one of the major areas targeted by the JTB over the years and we have been members of RCMA for the past 25 years attending their annual conference in the USA, supported by our private sector partners. RCMA members are responsible for planning 7,200 meetings, conventions, assemblies and retreats annually attracting more that 5.4 million participants and an average of 14 meetings planned by members each year. Average attendance per meeting is 511 persons.
  • In June of this year, the Jamaica Tourist Board hosted the executive team of RCMA in Montego Bay with the aim of developing a RCMA endorsed programme right here in Montego Bay in 2017.
  • You could argue that religious travel was the first form of tourism, and you would be right, so in a sense by developing faith-based travel we are returning to our roots.


  • Through your interconnectivity with congregations, no doubt you have an insight into the socio-economic state of the masses of our people. We are not satisfied that our people are capitalizing on the resources with which we are blessed. Being a natural tourism paradise is one of those gifts.
  • The tourism sector has the potential to stimulate wide-scale economic activity, foster new growth in our communities, generate the jobs we need so badly and earn billions of dollars in foreign exchange.  That’s why we are positioning the industry to become a powerful catalyst for improving the socio-economic conditions of our people.
  • Success in meeting our targets for visitors and earning will also mean having an additional 15,000 rooms and an increase in the total direct jobs to 125,000. We will be achieving this by building on Five Pillars of Tourism Growth, which my Ministry and our agencies are focusing on, as we seek to transform the island’s tourism sector, deepen linkages and achieve significant growth.


As some of you may have already heard these Pillars are:                                                                                                        

-Tapping into new markets

-Developing new products

-Promoting new investment

-Building new partnerships, and;

-Developing human capital


  • Underpinning these five pillars of growth, are five networks, incorporating several key sectors, that will better integrate tourism with the wider society and thereby better spread the benefits to all Jamaicans. These five networks are:
  • Gastronomy
  • Sports and Entertainment
  • Health and Wellness
  • Shopping, and;
  • Knowledge
  • Together, we are bolstered by the fact that the renewed architecture of pillars and networks will be enveloped by the need to strengthen and expand linkages with our local agriculture, manufacturing and the creative industries and importantly, encourage us to aggressively push multi-destination tourism as a response to the new global tourism realities.
  • No doubt you will be using this World-Wide Synod to assess yourselves and determine your own growth path within the wider Christian community. I wish you success in your deliberations at the end of which it would be good to know that you leave for your respective countries satisfied that it was really good for you to have been here.
  • I encourage you to take some time out to enjoy our wonderful tourism product and its many magnificent attractions and I hope that once the visitors among you have had a taste of Jamaica you will return again and again. 

Thank you.