Mon, 18 Mar 2019 02:00:08 -0400
Bartlett aiming to plug leakage of tourism dollarsBY BALFORD HENRY
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says that Jamaica has to increase the level of retention of its tourism dollar in its economy to create jobs and contribute to growth,According to a release from the Ministry of Tourism recently, Bartlett told a meeting of its Tourism Linkages Council leadership team that Jamaica must aim to bring that 70 per cent that it retains from tourism earnings closer to 40 per cent, which is where India is.
“We therefore have to own the consumption side of tourism and build the capacity of our people to deliver on the experience and, by so doing, increase the level of retention of the tourism dollar in the economy. If successful, we will be able to create inclusive growth by the provision of jobs, which will lead to increased earnings, consumption, tax revenues, and the ability to better pay our debts,” Bartlett charged the committee.
The minister said that efforts spearheaded by the ministry to stem the amount of tourism dollars leaving Jamaica are bearing fruit.
He said that the newly launched Jamaica Suppliers Directory is an innovative online-based initiative focused on bolstering the efforts of the Tourism Linkages Network's efforts of increasing consumption of locally-produced goods and reduce the leakages.
Dr Wayne Henry, director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, shared that his agency underscores the network's vision, as it is critical to the capacity building of people to positively impact the economy.
Dr Henry was part of a high-level team representing Finance Minister Audley Shaw, who attended the council meeting at which the Jamaica Suppliers Directory was launched. Others were: Michael Tharkur, senior technical advisor, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service; Dr Wesley Hughes, CEO, PetroCaribe Fund; and the Inter-American Development Bank's Gerard Johnson.
Barlett's senior advisor, Delano Seivewright, noted that the linkages council was one of five networks involved with integrating tourism within the wider society to spread the benefits to more Jamaicans. These five networks are: gastronomy, chaired by hotel executive Nicola Madden-Greig; sports and entertainment, chaired by entertainment aficionado Kamal Bankay; health and wellness, chaired by scientist and businessman Dr Henry Lowe, with prominent Negril hotelier Christine Cohen as deputy chair; shopping, chaired by jeweller and businessman Anup Chandiram; and knowledge, chaired by Digicel Jamaica CEO David Butler.
The networks fall under the leadership of the Tourism Linkages Council, and have detailed programmes and projects specifically chosen to add value to the Jamaican tourism sector, particularly as it relates to increasing visitor arrivals and spending.
“It's been very positive so far and the rubber is now hitting the road. The teams are first-class and are made up of some of Jamaica's best and most dynamic citizens,” Bartlett noted.
The Tourism Linkages Council also has two main groups which directly foster greater synergy between tourism and the productive sector, namely the Agriculture Technical Working Group headed by prominent agriculture academic Dr Derrick Deslandes and the Manufacturing Technical Working Group headed by Jamaica Manufacturers' Association President Metry Seaga.
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