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Tourism spending scaled down

Published:Saturday | March 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Despite being one of the strongest performing areas last fiscal year, the Ministry of Tourism is being asked to do equal work with less funds.

The allocation to the promotion of tourism has been carved by approximately $400 million, down from $2 billion last year.

In fact, the ministry's allocation of the national budget is proposed to be cut from $2.6 billion last year to $2.1 billion.

Jamaica earned an estimated US$1.97 billion from tourism last year. The earnings this year is projected to increase to US$2.06 billion.

The Jamaica Tourist Board, which is responsible for the marketing of tourism overseas, is set to receive $1.5 billion, down from $1.9 billion last year.

Advertising down

The country's overseas marketing programme, which promotes Brand Jamaica though advertising, has been slightly scaled down, from $683 million to $654 million.

At the same time, the country's programme of providing seat-risk grant support has also been shaved from $20 million to $19 million. The seat-risk grant is intended to absorb an element of risk with tour operators to encourage the continuation of operation of chartered programmes to Jamaica, particularly from North America, Europe and key emerging markets.