Jamaica records most successful winter tourist season – Bartlett
The 2018-19 Winter Tourist Season has emerged as Jamaica’s most successful based on earnings and visitor arrivals, Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett has said.
He notes that over the last three months of the season, which commenced on December 15, the industry welcomed nearly 800,000 stopover visitors while generating more than $1 billion in earnings.
Bartlett added that 121,000 persons directly employed in the sector, and another 375 who work indirectly, benefited from this out-turn.
“Our growth has been phenomenal. This is the greatest and most productive tourism winter season that Jamaica has ever seen in its history,” the minister said.
He was addressing the gathering at an awards ceremony for the first cohort of graduates under the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival Volunteer Training Programme at the University of Technology (UTech) in St Andrew on Tuesday.
Bartlett said that the boom in visitor arrivals to Jamaica has spurred investment interests while advising of the impending commencement of several projects to construct thousands of additional hotel rooms islandwide.
Meanwhile, the minister, who emphasised that coffee has several value-added components that are not fullyexploited by local entrepreneurs, urged them to explore these and not focus on exporting only coffee beans.
Noting that there is growing demand for volunteerism, “which will enable you to earn”, Bartlett said that the Volunteer Training Programme afforded the participants the opportunity to explore this.
Under the Tourism Linkages Network initiative, which is a partnership with the Tourism Product Development Company, participants are provided with Team Jamaica certification.
The first cohort included 28 students from the UTech and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
The programme aims to assist coffee farmers to boost production, and provide locals and visitors with experiences highlighting Jamaica’s authentic coffee culture.