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Promote service sector as part of Brand Jamaica - Industry watchers

Published:Monday | November 23, 2015 | 11:00 AM

The increasing importance of the service sector to the Jamaican economy has prompted industry, observers to call for greater emphasis to be placed on the export potential of the area.

David Jessop, a consultant with the Caribbean Council, believes that more can be done to integrate the non-tourism aspects of the sector as part of Brand Jamaica.

According to Jessop, "the non-tourism services sector needs promoting more strenuously as an integral part of Brand Jamaica."

For Jessop, the service sector can benefit from increased promotion on the international market.

"Financial services and the other professions should more actively participate in external promotional activities. Services represent an important part of the country's future, and whoever is in Government needs to promote the country's offering strenuously," he said.

growth in the sector

Professor Densil Williams, executive director of the Mona School of Business and Management, also said that he believed the growth in the sector would be realised through its ability to engage international markets.

He pointed out that "the service sector is a significant contributor to Jamaica's GDP. Over two-thirds of the country's output is derived from this sector. It is, therefore, critical that policy-makers provide the right environment to foster stronger growth in this area."

Williams, however, pointed out that cybercrime could inhibit the international outlook of the sector.

"Critically, since the growth will come from the internationalisation of the sector, the need to arrest the high incidence of cybercrime will be paramount," he said.

Edward Seaga, distinguished fellow at the University of the West Indies, argued that more needs to be done to maximise opportunities for the export of professional services, particularly in the legal and consulting arenas.

Seaga went on to note that the service sector is rapidly asserting its dominance as the foremost investment opportunity and called for a reduction in the personal and corporate taxes levied on the sector to be reduced.

Policy support for the export potential of the sector was the main concern for Co-executive Director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) Dr Christopher Tufton.

He called for the Government to "examine policy support for service exports such as in the creative industries; make it easier to attract local and international investments in areas like film production; and encourage greater linkages between tourism-related services and attractions and entertainment."

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com