Financial sector encouraged to fund more investment opportunities in tourismWednesday, August 04, 2021
Players in the local financial sector are being encouraged to explore the many investment opportunities within the tourism sector and develop solutions that will help spur growth in the industry which has been badly affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a meeting with the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association (CARAIA) last week, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said investments are to play a critical role in building a viable post-COVID-19 tourism product.
“Investment will play a critical role in building out this new look tourism product, as it provides the funds necessary to construct and upgrade tourism projects essential to the development and growth of tourism capacity. The success of any tourist destination is dependent to a large degree on the nature of the facilities and service infrastructure available to visitors,” Bartlett said.
In highlighting a raft of value-added benefits which can come from the industry, the minister said there was need for greater funding to form better linkages and to provide local entrepreneurs the opportunity to take advantage of untapped markets. He added that the multi-dimensional nature of Jamaica's tourism sector offers countless opportunities for investment in many areas spanning accommodation, human capital development, attractions, travel technology, agro-tourism, green projects, nutraceuticals, manufacturing and other infrastructure that improve the visitor experience.
“The estimated total value of demand for agricultural products in the tourism sector is $39.6 billion. Food items in the poultry, meats and seafood category alone account for 75 per cent of this total value, while fruits accounted for another 10 per cent,” Bartlett said in citing statistics from a recent industry study.
The findings, he said, also indicated the dire need for financiers to create an enabling environment for investments and help the country to stem import leakages, which was currently estimated at over $70 billion across the productive sector.
NCB Capital Markets Limited (NCBCM), through its Tourism Response Impact Portfolio (TRIP) initiative, recently launched its product to provide an alternative funding source for players in the sector to retool and sustain their operations amid the pandemic. The fund also facilitates a broader investor participation with returns commensurate to the associated risks.
The tourism minister, in noting the current investment climate, which has remained positive amid the pandemic after having some 90 per cent of its ventures on target, further indicated that the time was ripe for greater levels of investments to be made especially in the tourism sector. The industry, he said, was expected to regain significant earnings and visitor arrivals over the next few years and into 2024, which based on projections, shows it at that time getting back on track to welcoming some 4.2 million visitors and earning US$4.0 billion in tourism revenues.
“Investment in tourism offers one of the best opportunities for Jamaica to recover and strengthen its economy… CARAIA can be a strong voice as we seek to promote, attract and facilitate productive investment in Jamaica's tourism industry and in doing so, place us more effectively on the world's alternative investment stage,” Bartlett said.
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