Offshore finance, wellness tourism offer healthy prospects
THE government expects more investment, more jobs and greater revenue through its Jamaica International Financial Services Authority (JIFSA) — the body established to promote and develop the country as a low tax centre for international financial services.
JIFSA was established last year in a bid to earn a stake in the US$7-trillion offshore financial service industry, which has traditionally been associated with the Cayman Islands.
"The establishment of this industry presents an excellent opportunity for Jamaica to be recognised as an international business centre," investment minister Anthony Hylton said at last week's executive breakfast hosted by First Global Bank.
JIFSA will diversify the island's economy and put the country in a position to provide more services on a global scale, he said.
"We have the skill and the expertise to provide the services required by the international financial community at the most competitive rates," he said, adding that the return on investment in the short term would be "excellent".
In the long term, direct employment from the industry could be as high as 15,000 local professionals, he said, with the Government earning potential revenue of US$300 million each year.
In the meantime, health and wellness tourism is another investment opportunity that will help put Jamaica on the path to economic recovery while being more globally competitive.
"As a world-renowned tourist destination, Jamaica has a well-developed medical infrastructure, numerous private medical facilities, and a first-class reputation for its doctors and nurses," the minister said.
Therefore, research is being conducted On how to exploit the health and wellness market.
"The health and wellness segment of the tourism industry [has] significant potential," he said, adding that members of the local medical fraternity have shown interest in the area.
But to "achieve the desired economic growth and create jobs", Hylton said public/private partnerships are needed.
"We must work together. This country does not belong to the government or to the private sector -- it belongs to all of us."