April shaping up to be a good month for tourism — Bartlett

Thursday, April 25, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says that April is shaping up to be another good month for visitor arrivals.

“We are expecting this to be a huge month. April is trending at eight per cent (over the same period last year),” he said, noting that the numbers for Easter and Carnival are yet to be tabulated.

He said that the out-turn for April is expected to boost stopover arrivals to 900,000 for the first four months of the year.

Bartlett said the country welcomed a total of 1.3 million stopover and cruise-ship passengers between January and March, with earnings of over US$1 billion.

“People are going to destinations in various parts of the island, utilising Airbnb facilities and homestay; areas that we never knew that tourists would go,” he noted.

“The Average Daily Rate (ADR) for hotels on the island is at the highest it has ever been,” he added.

Bartlett said that with the current growth trend, Jamaica could achieve close to five million visitors for 2019 and US$4 billion in earnings, and with a three per cent retention rate, this will put US$1.5 billion in the pockets of Jamaicans.

He said that as the industry continues to expand, the ministry is seeking to build and develop the skill sets for key positions across the sector. He noted that more than 2,000 workers have been trained in various categories, and 600 people certified.

In addition, 335 high-school students have been engaged in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme (HTMP) and by next year, the number will move to 650.

He said that the ministry is partnering with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus for the establishment of a graduate school in tourism.

“All of these are to create a professional cadre of workers to build out a set of workers with skill sets that you can classify, and you can remunerate as to classification and remove a lot of the hiccups that are in the labour market, like short-term contracts. Tourism is no longer a seasonal activity; it is now year-round,” Bartlett said.

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