‘Agriculture at the heart of tourism’
Bartlett says collaboration needed to improve visitor offerings
TOURISM MINISTER Edmund Bartlett has renewed a call for the tourism and agriculture sectors to work together in order to improve the food-based offerings for visitors who come to Jamaica for a gastronomic experience.
While addressing the official launch of the restored Holland Bamboo Scenic Avenue in St Elizabeth recently, Bartlett noted that the two sectors have helped in Jamaica’s continuing recovery from the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Tourism is not an industry by itself, and tourism only happens because other industries are happening, so if they do not happen seamlessly to create the product and the experience, there is no tourism,” said Bartlett.
“People do not come to Jamaica for tourism. People come to Jamaica to eat the wonderful food that is prepared by Jamaicans from the gardens of Jamaica.”
Approximately 42 per cent of visitor expenditure is on food, the minister said.
Bartlett lamented that despite a demand for more than J$350 billion in agricultural produce for tourism alone, only 20 per cent was being supplied by local farming interests.
He suggested that specific markets could be created for items such as tuna fish farmed in the waters off Bowden, St Thomas, if a supply chain could be created and stabilised.
“For our oranges and guavas, all of these are wonderful for beverages and juices they provide for the industry and also for export. We want a serious discussion on the supply chain,” said Bartlett.
“Agriculture is at the heart of tourism, and I want to ensure that this symbiotic relationship is not just talk.”