Bartlett pushing for Tourism Innovation City

Sunday, October 21, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has disclosed plans to create a Tourism Innovation City in Montego Bay, "which will create a circular economy where nothing is wasted and everything is fully utilised".

According to the ministry, the purpose of the Tourism Innovation City is to develop areas of textile, manufacturing, farming and to boost the capacity to provide on the supply side of the tourism value chain.

Speaking at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Business and Investment forum held at the SeaGarden Beach resort on Friday, Bartlett said a tourism economy will be beneficial to Montego Bay, which is the "heartbeat of tourism" in Jamaica.

“The backward and forward linkages must be in place and when that happens tourism costs will begin to fall and revenues from consumption will increase. In the Dominican Republic, their revenue retention is 50 cents on each foreign exchange earned and this is so because they own the supply side —they manufacture uniforms for the sector and have processing plants to make the chutneys and jams needed by the guests. This is where a Tourism Innovation City in Jamaica would help to produce more of the items needed in the sector,” Bartlett was quoted as saying in a release from the ministry.

The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry- Business & Investment Forum is designed for investors and business executives who want to discover the business opportunities available in St James.

The forum also showcases various developments within the primary growth sectors, while sharing a wealth of information about emerging opportunities in the Montego Bay and the western region, the ministry said.

Bartlett added that, “If Jamaica is to earn more of the foreign exchange brought in by visitors, we must be able to reduce importation of the inputs needed for the sector and increase our ability to supply on the demand.

“The Tourism Innovation City will create a circular economy where nothing is wasted and everything is utilised fully and the resources, income and earnings stay within that space. When we are finished building out grange pen and Barrett Hall, this will be a fertile area for this great experiment and I am in discussion with the Urban Development Corporation who are to do a design for this innovation city.”

The city of Montego Bay represents one third of Jamaica's room stock and is considered the hub of tourism activities in the island.

As part of efforts to improve the look and feel of the product, the Ministry of Tourism, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has so far invested J$6 billion in Montego Bay and its environs. The work carried out by the TEF includes road rehabilitation, drain cleaning and housing solutions, the ministry shared.

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