Minister Bartlett: Tourism is at the heart of Jamaica’s post-COVID economic recovery program
Speaking recently at the Rotary Club of Kingston East & Port Royal 22nd Anniversary and Virtual Board Installation Ceremony, the Minister said: “Tourism is very resilient, and the sector will be at the heart of Jamaica’s economic recovery. However, it cannot be business as usual.”
He added that: “The pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to look at tourism through a different lens. As we rethink – re-imagine – tourism for the post-COVID-19 world, we must ensure that it is rebuilt on a safer, more resilient and equitable framework.”
The Ministry of Tourism is therefore considering a number of new strategies in an effort to mitigate the economic fallout caused by the pandemic. This is being led by the Land Based Working Group of the COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Task Force, which has put together a strategy report with recommendations to build resilience along the tourism value chain.
“Jamaica is facing one of the greatest economic challenges of this century. This is why my Ministry, Agencies and tourism partners are exploring measures to ensure that the tourism sector comes out on the right side of history. In this way, the tourism sector will live up to its potential as a catalyst for economic and social prosperity,” said the Minister.
He explained that “one key strategy will be to strengthen linkages and create a tax incentive program for large-scale farms and warehousing, aimed at purchasing from local farmers and selling in the industry. The investment size would range from US$12 to US$15 million. Also, we are creating an enabling financial environment through collaboration with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), EXIM Bank and Small and Medium-sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs).”
Mr. Bartlett also noted that the Ministry will be exploring the island’s competitive advantages with the aim of transforming Jamaica into a logistics supply hub for the region’s tourism sector.
“We are one of the largest tourist destinations in the Caribbean, we have the largest international airport and have the potential to develop our agriculture and agri-processing, and we are close to the bigger supplier markets: USA, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. We must take advantage of this. In addition, we want to promote island cruises by creating a home port and moving guests over the island for five to seven days,” he said.