Diaspora Confab: McNeill says visitor harassment hampering industry despite growth
MONTEGO BAY, St James:
The Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Dr Wykeham McNeill has reiterated that despite the growth in tourism, visitor harassment is hampering many entrepreneurs from capitalising on the industry.
McNeill made the comment earlier today at the Sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference currently underway in Montego Bay, St James.
"There are some things that we have to recognise, that you can't shirk away from the difficult issues. One of those difficult issues is: we have a problem with harassment," he said.
"One of the things that happen is that visitors come and you bring ships into Falmouth (and) Ocho Rios and people say they don't feel it (tourism impact) because the people aren't walking out. Yet when you talk to the visitor, they tell you they feel when they walk out they are harassed," McNeill said.
The Minister also said it appears that only a small number of people are creating the problem.
"What does that harassment do?" McNeill questioned. "It stops the 1,000 people that would come off (the ships) and walk from doing so. It stops the benefit."
In 2014, tourist arrivals increased by 3.6 per cent over 2013.