Bartlett bats for regional tourism investment

Bartlett bats for regional tourism investment

Friday, November 15, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett on Wednesday reiterated his call for tourism investors to look beyond developing hotels while batting for regional tourism investment.

Speaking at Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS), Bartlett made a pitch for investment in the “heavily tourism dependent Caribbean region, but more so in Jamaica”.

He thanked the 300 investors for being in Jamaica to “talk a little bit about investment but more so to leave some contracts behind. We want to make sure that some new properties are established in the region”.

Bartlett said given that the Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world, the meeting of investors was important as their acts will help to enhance the wellbeing of the Caribbean by forcing investment in the key area that is driving the economy of the region.

The minister said investments will help to create jobs, to enable stability and also build the capacity of the people of the region to offer more.

He anticipated the two-day summit being spent “looking carefully not just as investment in the traditional sense … but I want us to look beyond rooms because for tourism to become truly inclusive and to enable the development and the enrichment of the people of the region, we have to invest on the supply side”.

He reinforced that unless there was a building of the capacity to absorb the demand that tourism brings, “then tourism will be a negative industry in the region”.

Bartlett noted that the region was both a heavy driver of foreign exchange as well as a heavy user and unless linkages were created to stop the leakages of foreign exchange then the region will be “poorer for tourism instead of being richer.” He emphasized that investment discussions must be to enrich the Caribbean and to create opportunities to realize ourselves and to earn and achieve prosperity.

Meanwhile, President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards said apart from CHICOS there was no other major event in the Caribbean that focuses on investment in tourism.

She said the Caribbean has long been an outstanding tourism destination “but we have not focused so much on the business side of things and that would be done over the next two days.”

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw also welcomed the CHICOS delegates, noting that there were linkages between his portfolio responsibilities and tourism.

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