The Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left) with Philip Rose of the JTB’s Toronto office
The Minister addressed a small group of journalists from the travel trade and diaspora press
It has been an unsettling and worrying couple of weeks in
the Caribbean, but Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism is carefully thinking about the
long-term future of the region and his own country, as evidenced in a recent
visit with Canadian travel trade and Caribbean ethnic media in Toronto.
During the course of his speech, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett
was careful to ask for a moment of silence out of respect for the islands and
people who had been affected by the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria
and the Mexican earthquake. Yet he did
express optimism – particularly regarding the Canadian market to Jamaica.
“No market has grown faster in the past 12 months than Canada,” he said, crediting the efforts of the JTB’s head for Canada, Philip
Rose and his team. “We are up 8% and are on track to welcome more than
400,000 Canadians in 2017.”
“Jamaica has the best product in the Caribbean. No other has
the mix of experiences that we offer:
the music, food and love. It’s a happy destination and we pride
ourselves on being safe and secure. And
we are working on 'seamless'," he told the group.
The island is working on an expansion plan which will see
rooms grow from 28K to 45K over five years, and improve the tourism offerings
thanks to a combination of partnerships, investment, marketing, and renewal of
human capital. He also foresees growing
markets in China, India, Latin America and Eastern Europe, perhaps in
Jamaica has established a centre for tourism, slated to open
next month, and in November, Kingston will be the site of a global conference
hosting 157 ministers of tourism and over 500 companies from around the world.
“The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the
world,” Bartlett pointed out, “And tourism is 10% of the world’s GDP,
employing almost 10% of the world’s working population.” It’s clear
Jamaica is determined to keep tourism clearly in focus.