Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller has argued tourism is delivering jobs, income and well-being around the world and deserves increased support from political leaders in these challenging economic times.
Miller delivered the message during a meeting with United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) president David Scowsill in Montego Bay, Jamaica, earlier.
“Tourism has grown over the years to become one of the world’s most powerful economic sectors - delivering jobs, income and well-being around the globe,” said Miller.
“Having served as minister of tourism & sports in Jamaica - a country in which tourism plays a crucial and ever-growing role in the national economy - I am well aware of the need to raise the profile of tourism higher among decision-makers.
“Without recognition and support at the highest level, tourism is often blocked from delivering on its full potential, especially when policies on issues such as infrastructure and taxation are made in isolation of the sector.
“This is even more critical in these challenging economic times,” she continued.
Attending the 2012 Caribbean Tourism Summit, Rifai and Scowsill praised the prime minister for her commitment to the sustainable expansion of the country’s tourism sector.
“There is a clear recognition within the Jamaican government of the importance of tourism as a driver of economic growth, job creation and sustainable development,” said Rifai.
“Already welcoming close to two million international tourists a year, who generate US$2 billion for the Jamaican economy, the prime minister’s words today will ensure the country remains firmly on the international tourism map.”
Jamaica is considered the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination by the World Travel Awards.
Scowsill added: “Jamaica has a unique character and sets itself apart from the other Caribbean islands historically and culturally.
“I’m delighted that the Government of Jamaica is reiterating its long term commitment to tourism, and demonstrates the country’s leadership role in the tourism industry.
“The government truly understands the impact on job creation and the positive economic impact that tourism brings to global GDP.
“In 2011 the Jamaican tourism industry supported almost 300,000 jobs and directly contributed JMD100 billion to the country’s GDP,” he concluded.