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Talking Points For Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett at the Tourism Linkages Network Strategy Session Wednesday, August 10, 2016

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning.
  • It is my pleasure to welcome you to this special Tourism Linkages Network Strategy Session.  My hope is that this morning’s meeting will be an engaging, interactive and insightful session as we discuss our vision, examine strategies, identify synergies and establish the roles of each of the seven networks that make up the wider Tourism Linkages Network.
  • Tourism as an economic sector is inherently connected to many industries. However, we must strengthen these connections and better integrate the tourism sector with the wider society to reap the real benefits of this sector.
  • Tourism is central to Jamaica’s national economic development strategy and therefore has a primary role to play in ensuring the sustainable development of our nation and improving the standard of living for all Jamaicans.
  • For this reason, more than any other, my Ministry and its Agencies are repositioning tourism to generate higher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings.
  • However, if we intend to achieve our targets to attract five million visitors by 2021; generate $5 billion in tourism earnings, increase the total direct jobs to 125,000 and add 15,000 new hotel rooms, then we must put in place the framework to foster the growth of this sector.
  • I have spoken often of the Five Pillars of Tourism Growth, which we will use to transform the island’s tourism sector, deepen linkages and achieve significant growth.  These are:
    • Tapping into new markets
    • Developing new products
    • Promoting investment
    • Building new partnerships, and;
    • Developing human capital
  • Underpinning these five pillars of growth are seven new networks; which is where persons here today come in. These networks are:
    • Manufacturing
    • Agriculture
    • Gastronomy
    • Sports and Entertainment
    • Health and Wellness
    • Shopping, and
    • Knowledge
  • These seven strategic areas of focus will serve to further diversify our tourism offerings while building business opportunities and generating improvements in the competitiveness of our tourism product.
  • Should the networks perform optimally, they will play a major role in bolstering our position as a first class tourist destination, which in turn will increase our attractiveness to tourists and potential investors.
  • We are operating in an increasingly challenging international tourism arena in which we are faced with increasing competition from emerging destinations, shifting travel patterns and volatile economic conditions.
  • However, fierce competition also offers new opportunities and if we are going to build a successful tourism industry it is critical that we recognize and adapt to changing market forces.
  • Jamaica is a strong, internationally recognized brand and we must play to our strengths, our competitive advantages and our potential for excellence. This is how we will differentiate ourselves from the competition.
  • Today people are travelling to pursue their passions; they want to satisfy a need, a desire. Jamaica as a tourist destination provides so many opportunities for those pursuing their passions through our diverse tourism offerings of sporting activities, gastronomy, health and wellness, and entertainment and culture. Without a doubt the lure of these areas is irresistible and when fused with tourism can attract millions more visitors to our shores.
  • Through this collaborative public-private sector approach which entails a series of new networks, the Ministry of Tourism is seeking to further cement Jamaica’s position as a high-quality and competitive world class tourist destination.  We must respond to this increased inter­national competition by actively positioning ourselves in the market. Jamaica has many fantastic tourism products but we must continue to develop, expand and refine our product range.
  • I am confident moving forward knowing that the networks are chaired by persons with vast experience and knowledge of their respective fields.
  • Manufacturing – Metry Seaga, President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association
  • Agriculture – Dr. Derrick Deslandes, Lecturer, University of the West Indies and President of CASE
  • Gastronomy – Nicola Madden-Greig, Group Director – Marketing & Sales, The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites and Immediate Past President of the JHTA
  • Sports and Entertainment – Kamal Bankay, Entertainment Consultant
  • Health and Wellness – Dr. Henry Lowe, Executive Chairman of the Environmental Health Foundation  
  • Shopping – Anup Chandiram, President, Duty Free Association of Jamaica
  • Knowledge – David Butler, CEO, Digicel
  • These networks will be key facilitators in taking Jamaica’s tourism product to the next level. I challenge you to effectively guide your networks through the formulation and implementation of sustainable strategies and projects which strengthen linkages with the domestic economy; enhance the development of as well as investment in our tourism product; and spread more of the economic benefits of tourism to more Jamaicans.
  • Ladies and gentlemen our tourism sector has significant potential. With our island’s exceptional resources and the extraordinary expertise of the members of the various networks I am confident that together we can position Jamaica’s tourism as a vibrant, successful and sustainable sector, which benefits both the people and the nation.
  • Thank you all for volunteering your time and talent to this noble endevour.

Thank you.