Edmund (Ed) Bartlett, a
marketing executive and long-standing Parliamentarian, has been appointed
Minister of Tourism in Jamaica’s newly elected government. This follows the
September 3 electoral victory by the Jamaica Labour Party.
Bartlett is no stranger to the tourism portfolio, having been the
Opposition spokesman on tourism and matters related to the Jamaican
Diaspora during the last administration. In over 22 years in the Jamaican
Parliament, he has served as Minister of Youth and Community Development as
well as Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and Culture.
Born and educated in Jamaica, Bartlett is a graduate of the University
of the West Indies. He has held senior accounting and marketing positions
at Revere Alumina Jamaica Ltd. and Texaco Caribbean Inc. respectively. In
the 1980’s Bartlett was appointed Vice President for the World Conference
on Cultural Policies. In that period, he further served as Vice Chairman of
the United Nations International Youth Year Advisory Committee and
addressed the UN General Assembly as the island’s representative during the
1985 celebration of the International Year of Youth.
Bartlett assumes the position as Minister of Tourism in Jamaica at a
time when the island is experiencing substantial infrastructural
development in its tourist industry. Over the last three years, the number
of hotel rooms has been increasing at a rapid rate and it is anticipated
that hotel room inventory will continue to increase at an average of 4,600
rooms per year between 2008 and 2010.
In 2006 Jamaica recorded 3 million visitors for the first time with
over a million arrivals out of the US market for the second consecutive
year. Bartlett has expressed his determination to focus on marketing,
product development and investment in keeping Jamaica in the forefront of
Caribbean tourism and has already set an aggressive growth target for the
In its stated programme for tourism development in Jamaica, the new
government has emphasized diversification of the industry. Areas identified
as having potential for increasing the contribution of tourism to the
island’s economy include promotion of more high-value luxury accommodation,
increased focus on Jamaica’s culture and heritage, the opening of resorts
in non- traditional areas as well as expansion of cruise ship facilities on
the island’s famous North coast.