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Country moving to retain more tourism dollars - Bartlett

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Western Bureau:

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says the Government is now pursuing steps to plug the leakages in the tourism sector so as to ensure that more of the money generated from the industry can be retained in Jamaica.

“Last year, Jamaica earned more than US$3 billion from visitors to the island but was only able to retain US30 cents from every dollar, even with a new online arrangement known as the Agri-Linkages Exchange (ALEX) platform, which provides a direct link between farmers, hotels and restaurants to supply the demands of the industry,” Bartlett told The Gleaner.

He noted that keen attention is being paid to new investments in the sector to ensure the involvement of more locals, which will lead to more money going into the local economy.

“This new wave of investment, which is going to bring nearly 15,000 new rooms in the next five years, will be characterised also by investment on the supply side to enable Jamaicans to provide more of the inputs of tourism so that the value added from tourism can remain in the economy of Jamaica,” said Bartlett.

“This a very important part of that discussion because now we are not only talking about building hotel rooms, but we talking about working with farmers to produce more food for the sector,” the tourism minister added.

Maximising earnings

Bartlett said the Government will also be seeking to maximise its earning potential through the provision of energy to the sector.

“We talking about producing more energy requirement for the sector, we talking about producing water as well for the communities around,” said Bartlett, in explaining that discussions are now taking place between the Government and tourism investors, including the Spanish, who are now investing heavily.

“We are talking about inclusive development, where investment and communities are going to be a new symbiotic relationship that is going to ensure that we move the country from poverty to prosperity,” added Bartlett.