Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Ja could see 10m visitors during next 10 years - PM

Published:Tuesday | May 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that Jamaica's tourism potential has not even begun to "scratch the surface", arguing that the country could easily see 10 million visitors and earn $10 billion during the next 10 years.

The prime minister, who was speaking at the East Central St James Scholarship Fundraiser at the Jewel Grande Hotel in Rose Hall, St James, last Saturday night, asserted that the potential was there to double that prediction in subsequent years.

Holness argued that based on the tourism market worldwide and the quality iconic product that Jamaica had at its disposal, "there is no reason why we should not be doing better".

He noted that the East Central MP, Edmund Bartlett, who is also tourism minister, and his team had been doing a tremendous job.

Holness admitted that the tourism team would have to be given additional support to make further inroads in the non-traditional markets.

"If they can manage to tap into South and Central America, Eastern Europe and also China, then we could very easily reach numbers that were once thought to be impossible," he said.

The prime minister revealed that the Cabinet had fully endorsed the tourism minister's frequent ventures overseas, stating, "Every time he travels, we are assured of a planeload of visitors coming from whatever area he visited."

 

Latin American plan

 

Holness further remarked, "We have a strategic plan for the Latin American market which we think will be successful."

Cognisant that a major deterrent to growth in tourism and other areas was crime, he vowed that the Government would not simply abandon the future of the country to criminals.

"Our tourism numbers could have been a lot better if not for the crime situation. We didn't just call a state of emergency in our tourism capital (Montego Bay) without looking at all the pros and cons," the prime minister argued.

"We have taken a position that we don't ever want to get back to where we are coming from and, so, we will continue to stay on top of the situation and continue to provide a safe environment for our citizens and also our visitors."

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com