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Talking Points For Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett at the One World Ska & Rocksteady Music Festival Press Launch Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Knutsford Court Hotel


Colleague Minister, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen…good morning.

  • I am honoured to be here today to participate in the official launch of the One World Ska & Rocksteady Music Festival, the latest addition to our exciting musical calendar here in Jamaica.
  • As a nation Jamaica has captivated the world through our unique and vibrant culture. Our enchanting music and other cultural and entertainment offerings have cemented our position as a ‘cultural super-power’.
  • Our music is an important part of our unique culture and continues to set Jamaica apart from rival destinations.
  • I am particularly pleased that this festival will be dedicated to two of our foundation genres - Ska and Rocksteady.
  • There is no disputing the fact that the emergence of Ska in the late 1950s helped to transform the musical landscape not just locally but globally as well, with ska spreading like a raging fire across  the globe to countries like Germany, the UK, Australia, Japan, and the United States.
  • As one of our earliest genres Ska has undoubtedly helped to pave the way for Jamaica’s emergence as a cultural giant on the world stage contributing to the rise of other genres such as rocksteady, reggae and subsequently dancehall.
  • The Ministry of Tourism and its agencies are committed to fostering the continued development of the entertainment industry and the full  integration of entertainment into our tourism product. It is this commitment that has fueled our support for local entertainment events and our decision to sponsor this venture through our marketing arm, the Jamaica Tourist Board.
  • We fully recognize the positive impact that festivals and events of this nature have on our tourism sector by enhancing our cultural and musical offerings as a destination and helping to attract more visitors to our shores.
  • As a Ministry we are well aware that more can be done to ensure that we fully capitalize on the true potential of entertainment tourism.
  • Entertainment tourism is one of the main niche areas which we are moving to develop in order to further diversify our tourism product and tap into new markets. This is precisely why we are placing special focus on developing entertainment tourism as part of our growth strategy.
  • Let me reiterate our targets:
    • Secure 5 million visitors by 2021
    • US$ 5 billion in tourism earnings
    • Increase the total direct jobs to 125,000
    • 15,000 new rooms
  • To achieve this we are focusing on the Five Pillars of Tourism Growth, to transform our sector, deepen linkages and achieve significant growth.
  • These Pillars 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 incorporate several key sectors, that will better integrate tourism with the wider economy and thereby better spread the benefits of tourism to every Jamaican. These networks are:
    • Manufacturing
    • Agriculture
    • Gastronomy
    • Sports and Entertainment
    • Health and Wellness
    • Shopping, and
    • Knowledge
  • It goes without saying that entertainment and sports are areas in which we are world beaters. We are taking crucial steps to capitalize on the tremendous potential Jamaica has in these areas to significantly boost our arrivals and tourism earnings. With this in mind I have mandated the newly formed Sports and Entertainment Network, which is chaired by entertainment producer and promoter Kamal Bankay, to lead this important initiative.
  • Similarly, we are working closely with my colleague Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and her team to better leverage Jamaica’s advantages in the areas of entertainment and sports to enhance our tourism product and attract more visitors.
  • We are proud to be a sponsor of this ground-breaking event, which is the first festival of its kind in Jamaica dedicated to two of our renowned genres- Ska and Rocksteady.
  • I must commend the other sponsors that are supporting this event. Your support is truly an investment in the development of our nation’s unique culture, which continues to impact the entire world.
  • I also want to commend the Sounds and Pressure Foundation for the hard work and dedication that they have put into organizing this festival.
  • I wish you success in this inaugural staging of the One World Ska & Rocksteady Music Festival, and I sincerely hope that it will become a staple on our musical calendar for many years to come.

Thank you.