Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Cuba no threat to Jamaica's tourism industry, says Phillips

Published:Sunday | January 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Talk about a threat to Jamaica's tourism industry now that Cuba is entering a new era in diplomatic relations with its decades-old nemesis, the United States, is entirely misplaced, says Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.

Instead, he sees the opening up of Cuba as chance for Jamaicans to tap new markets.

"I think it provides a tremendous opportunity for Jamaican businesses to expand and to help integrate the northern Caribbean economies," the minister told participants at the monthly investor forum of Mayberry Investments Limited in New Kingston on Wednesday night.

Much of Jamaica's future will depend on its ability to compete, produce and sell to markets like Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the Central American mainland.

"There's no threat to be had from tourism," he declared.

Alluding to the start of the Cuban Revolution, Phillips said that in 1959 when Cuba exited world markets, there was no 'Brand Jamaica'. But since then, Jamaica has demonstrated that it can take on all commerce in and outside the region.

"And I dare say we'll hold our own no matter who comes to the marketplace," the minister said.

"What we need to recognise is that, in many respects, the Cuban economy needs to learn a lot of things from us about how to do business in the modern, integrated global marketplace," Phillips added.

"We have the services; we should be seeking opportunities to sell these services - engineering services, accounting services, architectural services and the like - which we can provide as we have been providing to the others," he said.