After just two months in office, Jamaica’s newly appointed Minister for Tourism, The Honourable Edmund Bartlett, MP has announced his vision for tourism. The strategy for growth and development of tourism on the island is underpinned by three key elements: marketing; product development and investment.
New marketing initiatives will be implemented to achieve the ultimate goal of growing visitor numbers to Jamaica. The island currently attracts 3 million visitors a year, generating $2billion US dollars in revenue. Targets have been set to significantly increase this figure by 2010.
Crucial to the strategy is development of the tourism product on the island with particular emphasis on the luxury sector. Expansion by some of Jamaica’s most prestigious resorts and properties including Rose Hall Resort, Half Moon, Palmyra and Golden Eye are already underway.
Discussions are also in progress for a major luxury development on the north east of the island. Port Antonio, Jamaica’s most lush parish, is considered the birth place of Jamaica tourism celebrating its hey day in the 1930’s with the international jet set led by movie star Errol Flynn. Improved transport links and 5-star facilities would open up the area to more tourists bringing in valuable revenue, and providing British visitors with a totally new experience on the island.
Jamaica already boasts the most diverse offering of attractions in the Caribbean and there are plans to ensure that the island retains this number one position.
“Jamaica’s natural resources provide an unprecedented foundation for a vibrant attractions sector. Our topography is extraordinary, with our soaring mountains and abundance of rivers, waterfalls and unique plant life. And we have an excellent capacity for superbly designed man-made attractions that are an important part of the Jamaican experience” commented Minister Bartlett.
To encourage investment by both local and foreign entities, Minister Bartlett is committed to encouraging policies designed to expedite the decision-making process for approval and implementation. On receipt of new construction plans, the Government will guarantee a response to investors within a 90-day time period, thereby eliminating lengthy delays to a project’s commencement. “We’ve suffered in the past from too much bureaucracy and red tape that has impeded new development. In revising the process, we will significantly reduce the turnaround time for approvals” noted the Minister.
With widespread concern about environmental conservation, and the ongoing threat to the Caribbean region of climactic patterns and changes, the Jamaican Government is rigorously pursuing measures that will protect the land and coastlines. New policies are currently under discussion to ensure that development will not overtax the infrastructure or jeopardise the island’s natural resources.