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Jamaica's PM highlights the importance of political support for the Jamaica holidays industry

  • 23-Jul-12 15:25
  • Jamaica
  • Caribbean News Digital

At the Caribbean Tourism Summit & Outlook Seminar hosted in Jamaica, The Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller underscored the importance of political support if the region's tourism industry is meant to grow and thrive. Officials in attendance at the ceremony praised Ms Miller for her government's stellar work in support of Jamaica's holiday industry as the beautiful island continues to attract millions of holidaymakers each year.

Jamaica's PM highlights the importance of political support for the Jamaica holidays industry

Drawing on her own experiences with the Jamaica holidays industry, Jamaica’s Prime Minster, Portia Simpson Miller, underscored the importance of political support if the Caribbean tourism industry is to thrive stating, “Tourism has grown over the years to become one of the world’s most powerful economic sectors… Having served as Minister of Tourism and Sports of Jamaica, a country in which tourism plays a crucial role in the national economy I am well aware of the need to raise the profile of tourism higher among decision-makers. Without recognition and support at the highest level, tourism is often blocked from delivering its full potential, especially when policies on issues such as infrastructure and taxation are made in isolation. This is even more critical in these challenging economic times”.

Ms. Miller’s statements came at the 2012 Caribbean Tourism Summit & Outlook Seminar hosted by Jamaica, the high profile event was attended by key industry officials including, Taleb Rifai the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as well as David Scowsill, the President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Both officials praised the Jamaican PM for the work her government has done to support the local tourism industry.

 Jamaica Beach Holidays
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

At a recent Sectoral Debate in the Jamaican House of Representatives held in early July, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr. Wykeham McNeill also highlighted the importance of tourism to the island’s economy. Dr. Wykeham noted that it was not just enough to ensure that more travellers book Jamaica holidays, but that greater efforts are needed to increase the integration between tourism and other sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture.

Dr. Mc Neill highlighted some of the strategies his ministry would employ to achieve improved collaboration between the sectors including, improved distribution systems, short-term financing and providing information on available investment opportunities. “We will continue to facilitate dialogue between manufacturers, agriculture and other sectors, with the hoteliers so they can work together to capitalize on the many opportunities that exist” noted Dr. Mc Neill.

The importance placed on tourism by the Jamaican officials comes as no surprise, with an estimated two million travellers booking holidays in Jamaica each year, tourism continues to be the most significant contributor to the island’s GDP. Notably, tourism injected approximately JMD100 billion into the island’s economy as well as generated approximately 300 000 jobs in the Jamaica hotel and resorts industry and other related industries in 2011 alone.

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