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Tourism is our biggest driver of growth - Business leader

Published:Thursday | June 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Travel and tourism generated US$7.6 trillion worldwide, representing over 10 per cent of global Gross domestic product when the direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account, according to tourism minister Edmund Bartlett.

He was speaking at an American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) reception, held at the New York City home of former US Ambassador to Jamaica Brenda LaGrange Johnson last Friday.

Noting that tourism is the lead industry that can and will drive strong and sustainable growth and development, Bartlett reaffirmed the importance of the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference in Jamaica.

The UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Global Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, is scheduled for November 27 - 29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre and marks the first time that a conference of this kind is being held in the Western Hemisphere.

Bartlett stated that the conference is attracting many leaders from governments, multilateral organisations, international financial agencies, non-governmental organisations, cruise lines, other tourism entities and local businesses.

He noted that his ministry and the conference will put focus on strongly addressing the challenge of the high leakage of tourism dollars by promulgating policies and initiatives aimed at increasing consumption of local goods and services, thereby creating employment, and generating and retaining foreign exchange earnings for nations.