PM underscores the benefits of maximising tourism and allied sector linkages
ST JAMES, Jamaica – Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the local tourism industry’s reliance on imports can be significantly reduced if linkages forged between the hospitality and other sectors are maximised.
Holness, who was delivering the main address during the opening of the new US$40-million adults-only Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters in Falmouth, Trelawny, on Wednesday, said sectors such as agriculture are tailor-made to capitalise on the successes of tourism, noting that the record four million visitors to Jamaica this year is indicative of what is possible if the right strategy is utilised.
“We must make a greater attempt at strengthening the linkages between tourism and the other industries, notably agriculture,” the prime minister said.
“Without question, every new room that comes on stream, every new room that is built, we will see an impact on labour. We will see the impact in the construction phase, and we will see the impact in the operation phase. However, for us to truly benefit from tourism, everything that is supplied to the tourists who visit here… that can be produced here… should be from here,” he added.
Holness also highlighted the potential for increased job opportunities resulting from the strengthened relationship between tourism and agriculture.
He noted that as the tourism industry develops and expands the demand for locally sourced products rises, thereby increasing the need for farmers, poultry, and other industry-related workers.
The prime minister said this, in turn, helps to alleviate unemployment and contributes to poverty reduction.
Holness emphasised, however, that while there are potential challenges within supply chains, there is the need for collaboration involving the Government, farmers, and tourism stakeholders, adding that supply constraints can hinder the tourism industry’s growth and overall visitor experience.
“We will have to have that capacity to meet that demand. It can’t be a case where we get the business but then consistency becomes a problem. I am confident, however, that once there is proper planning and collaboration between stakeholders, we can do it… and do it well,” he said.
Holness assured that the government is committed to facilitating the necessary support and assistance, ensuring access to the requisite resources, technology, and markets.
Meanwhile, he said the management of Blue Diamonds Resorts must be commended for its continued belief and confidence in Jamaica.
The prime minister maintained that the US$40-million investment, coupled with the recruitment of 300 new employees, is testament to the Resorts’ commitment.
“This marks a significant milestone in the journey of Blue Diamond Resorts in Jamaica. In 2012 Blue Diamond Resorts made its entrance into Jamaica with the acquisition of this property, giving birth to the Royalton White Sands,” the prime minister noted.
“Fast forward to May of this year… a decision was made to embark on a transformative journey; a journey that led to the refurbishment and upgrading of this property and a rebirth into the luxurious Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters. This US$40 million is a significant investment,” he said.
The Royalton Hideaway is an adults-only retreat, providing a setting for couples and groups of friends seeking to reignite valued relationships and a peaceful Caribbean getaway.
The resort boasts 352 modern and beautifully appointed suites and rooms, adorned with a soothing colour scheme that exudes an atmosphere of elegance and tranquillity.