Wed | Dec 19, 2018

$350M loan facility for small, medium-sized tourism enterprises

Published:Wednesday | November 21, 2018 | 11:26 AM
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (3rd L) holds the $350Million cheque presented to the EXIM Bank from the TEF as part of the SMTE loan facility. Joining in the official handover are from left, David Dobson, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Dr Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the TEF, Mr. Eric Stubbs, loan beneficiary and operator of ESB Hotel and Restaurant Supplies, Ms. Lisa Bell, Managing Director of the EXIM Bank, Ms. Ingrid Chambers, loan beneficiary from the Shirley Retreat Hotel and Mrs. Patsy Stubbs, loan beneficiary and operator of ESB Hotel and Restaurant Supplies - Contributed photo.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says his Ministry is committed to driving the capacity of Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) that provide goods and services within the tourism sector.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) yesterday handed over $350 million to the EXIM Bank to facilitate a loan facility for these local suppliers. 
 
This figure represents the final tranche of the total amount provided by TEF to the EXIM Bank. 
 
Speaking at the handover ceremony Bartlett said, “More than 80% of tourism is driven by SMTEs but only 20% of tourism resources go back to them and part of that reason is capacity, the smaller players need to grow, they need to expand. They have ideas and tremendous capabilities but they lack capital. So to help these small suppliers build the capacity to compete and benefit more from the value change we partnered with the EXIM Bank and put J$1Billion to be on loan to them.”

The loan facility provides for funding to Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises belonging to the areas of gastronomy, small accommodations, shopping network, manufacturing, services, spa and wellness, domestic tours and car rentals.
 
Executive Director of the TEF, Dr Carey Wallace indicated that “The uptake has been very good and as at November 14, 2018, EXIM received 51 completed loan applications, totalling $941.9 million, under the SMTE loan programme.”
 
In applauding the initiative, Managing Director of the EXIM Bank, Lisa Bell said, “Through this loan facility we have seen the transformation of small and medium-sized entities across the length and breadth of this country. The numbers say one thing but the actual transformation of an entity, like the doubling of products and expansion of offerings, is where you really see the benefit of the programme.”
 
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