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Tourism continues to be main growth engine — PM

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says tourism continues to be the main engine of economic growth, providing indirect employment for one in every four people in the linked sectors.

These include agriculture, the creative and cultural industries, entertainment, manufacturing, transportation, finance and insurance, electricity and water, and construction.

“In 2016, the hotels and restaurants sector employed 94,850 people, compared with 88,250 people in 2015. This represented approximately 8.1 per cent of the employed labour force,” he pointed out. The prime minister was giving the keynote address at the opening of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Sunday.

He noted that tourism, by the nature of its operations, “has the potential to stimulate wide-scale economic activity, drive new growth in our communities and earn billions of dollars in foreign exchange”.

“Tourism is, therefore, ideally positioned as a powerful catalyst for improving the socio-economic conditions of our people,” he contended.

The prime minister said he is pleased that for the first eight months of 2017, there was a 6.9 per cent increase in stopover arrivals, in comparison to the corresponding period for 2016. Cruise passenger arrivals were up 5.1 per cent for January to August.

“From a total of 2,828,261 visitors in that eight-month period, Jamaica earned US$1.98 billion or 8.3 per cent more in gross foreign exchange earnings than the US$1.83 billion earned last year over the same period,” the prime minister pointed out.

He said that through business to business exchanges like JAPEX, “we are positioning the tourism industry to continuously generate higher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings. We must ensure that we deliver on all aspects of our offerings”.

The 27th edition of JAPEX, which runs from September 24 to 26, will see hundreds of overseas buyers and local suppliers meeting to conduct business on the conference floor.

The annual event, staged by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and the Jamaica Tourist Board, offers the ideal forum for leading suppliers of the country's tourism product to meet with travel wholesalers and tour operators in a professionally organised business exchange.




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