Tourism Minister calls for locals to increase production

5 days ago

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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is calling on local suppliers to increase their production of goods and services to match the increasing demand from the industry.

            “If we aren’t able to supply on that demand, we’re going to have to import, which means that the dollars that we get into Jamaica from tourism will be leaked out back to the sources from which they came, because we can’t supply the goods that are required,” he said.

The Minister was delivering the keynote address during a virtual meeting of the Kiwanis Club of East St Andrew on June 8.  

Bartlett pointed out that for the first seven days in June, 37,000 visitors came to the island and he projects that by the end of the month, Jamaica could see at least 150,000 tourists.

The arrivals, he argued, would cause an increase in the demand for goods and services. 

He pointed out that before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the industry saw a demand of some $369 billion worth of agricultural supplies, but the sector was able to supply only 20 per cent.

“But here is an opportunity now for us to scale up and go well beyond that 20 per cent, to have more people employed in the farming areas, to have more entrepreneurs developing as farmers and as Managers, but then that’s the agricultural side,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, he also urged manufacturing plants and service stakeholders to seek opportunities to supply technologies, medical services, beds, towels and other types of goods and services that can enhance the Jamaican experience for tourists.

“We want to establish in Jamaica a Tourism Supplies Logistics Hub and the various elements that are required in tourism, that the manufacturers can provide –  furniture, textiles of various types, paper facilities of various types,” he noted.

He pointed out that with an opportunity to increase investments, bankers can become connected with entrepreneurs.

Procurement and Marketing are two other areas, he insists, that have opportunities to meet the emerging demands of the tourism industry.

The Minister emphasised that to strengthen the linkages among the various sectors, the Tourism Linkages Network will be working closely with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

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