THE GOVERNMENT is moving to capitalise on the potential to grow earnings from the tourism sector by luring more Jamaicans in the diaspora to come for vacation or leisure time.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Arnaldo Brown said based on statistical data, approximately 3.3 million Jamaicans are in the diaspora, and only 11 per cent of that number are returning to Jamaican for leisure of vacation time.
Brown was giving the main address at the official launch of the Jamaica Biennial Diaspora Conference at the Ritz-Carlton, Rose Hall Resort and Spa.
"If we could grow the numbers of persons returning to Jamaica for vacation or leisure from the current 11 per cent to 50 per cent, then we could enjoy significant growth in foreign exchange. When Jamaicans return home, they do spend money here. They visit their relatives and spend money in those communities where their people live," said Brown.
The Jamaica 2013 Diaspora Conference will be hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at the swanky Montego Bay Convention Centre, from June 16-19 under the theme: 'A Nation on a Mission: Jamaica Diaspora Partnership for Development'.
Brown indicated that it is envisaged that the conference will seek to promote investment and trade partnerships with the diaspora to boost development and create sustainable links in overseas markets.
"Jamaicans overseas are the people who predominantly buy Jamaican goods and services, and also provide significant contributions at the household and wider national level."
He further explained: "We will be calling to all Jamaicans to open their eyes to take advantage of opportunities that will be available. We are paying so much attention to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), but as it relates to the growth agenda, we need to get more products into the overseas markets through linkages in the diaspora."