Entertainers earning big bucks as tourism rebounds — Bartlett
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett

MONTEGO BAY, St James – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has claimed that local players in the entertainment sector have earned some $0.5 billion for the provision of services to hotels over the first five months this year.

“I am very pleased that in the last five months the industry in coming back has expended a large number of US dollars on various sectors of the economy. And one of the sectors that has benefited from it is the entertainment sector, where nearly $500 million has actually been expended to provide entertainment services into hotels to guests who come in,” Bartlett told reporters in Montego Bay yesterday.

“So, Jamaican musicians, Jamaican artistes, Jamaican singers, Jamaican bands, and so on have all become part of this, and we made a big thing of it because it is important. And, I sought to get a breakdown of all the hotels and all they actually spend on local entertainment during this period. And, I think that as we expand in terms of arrivals and the hotel occupancy grows, then our involvement with the entertainment industry is going to expand,” added Bartlett.

His confidence of further rebound in the tourism sector is buoyed by the more than 30,000 arrivals welcomed so far this month, a trend he predicted will continue throughout the summer.

“We are having significant recovery, and my take on the matter is that we are going to end the year very strong. This month of June, we are already shaping up to be better than May, which was quite strong. We have done more than 30,000 visitors already in June and we are only six days. So, you are averaging in the region of 4,000 and 5,000 visitors a day,” declared Bartlett.

He said that since the start of the year, Jamaica has welcomed more than 400,000 visitors.

“So, I think this summer is really going to be strong. I can see us averaging somewhere in the region of 130,000 to 150,000 per month. So, for the three months of summer – June, July, August – I expect to see between 450,000 and 500,000 visitors,” said Bartlett.

According to the tourism minister, the industry is on the rebound and that will mean the rebounding of Jamaica's economy in general.

“We have seen that our local purchases have increased significantly over the period, and it is true that the capacity now to supply much of what the industry needs by way of food is evident, but we have to stress that as the industry grows, our manufacturers and our farmers must also expand their production so that their supplies can be sustainable.

“The growth of the industry means expansion of demand and if those demands are not being met by our local production, then naturally importation has to come in,” argued Bartlett.

He added: “One of the points that we want to emphasise in resetting the industry with this new growth arrangement is to expand the capacity of our local suppliers to do more.

“A new era is dawning in terms of the relationships that tourism has to offer. And, we must be prepared now to respond to it and to make sure that the prosperity that tourism can offer is realised by our local people, as well as our partners from all over the world.”

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

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