Minister Bartlett bats for regional tourism investment
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has reiterated his call on tourism investors to look beyond developing hotels while batting for regional tourism investment.
In a jovial welcome to some 300 investors from across globe gathered for the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) at Secrets Wild Orchid Resort Wednesday night [November 13, 2019], Minister Bartlett made a pitch for them to invest in the heavily tourism dependent Caribbean region, but more so in Jamaica.
He expressed happiness at having them “here in Jamaica for us to talk a little bit about investment but more so to leave some contracts behind. We want to make sure that some new properties are established in the region.”
He said given that the Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world, “This meeting of investors is of tremendous importance to us because what you’re doing is helping to enhance the wellbeing of the Caribbean by forcing investment in the key area that is driving the economy of the region.”
Through such investment, said Minister Bartlett, they would be helping to create jobs, to enable stability but more so, build the capacity of the people of the region to offer more.
He anticipated the two-day summit being spent “looking carefully not just as investment in the traditional sense … but I want us to look beyond rooms because for tourism to become truly inclusive and to enable the development and the enrichment of the people of the region, we have to invest on the supply side.” He reinforced that unless there was a building of the capacity to absorb the demand that tourism brings, “then tourism will be a negative industry in the region.”
Minister Bartlett noted that the region was both a heavy driver of foreign exchange as well as a heavy user and “and unless we create the linkages to stop the leakages of foreign exchange then the region will be poorer for tourism instead of being richer and so investment discussions must be to enrich the Caribbean and to create for us the opportunities to realize our best selves and to earn and achieve prosperity.”
Meanwhile, President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards said apart from CHICOS there was no other major event in the Caribbean that focusses on investment in tourism. She said the Caribbean has long been an outstanding tourism destination “but we have not focused so much on the business side of things and that would be done over the next two days.”
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Audley Shaw also welcomed the CHICOS delegates, noting that there were linkages between his portfolio responsibilities and tourism.
Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Minister of Tourism for St Lucia, Dominique Fedee and Bahamas Tourism Minister, Dionisio D’Aguilar also joined Minister Bartlett in wooing the tourism investors.
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