Participants at the 4th annual Tourism Outlook Seminar being held at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay, St. James, have been challenged to retool by pumping more investment into the Tourism Industry in order to appeal to the changing demands of consumers. In issuing the challenge, Tourism Minister the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, urged the participants to use their deliberations at the seminar as the springboard for developing strategies to respond to the new realities of the industry and meet the challenges of 2011 and beyond.
Minister Bartlett said: “the tourism industry has the potential to create sustainable development for a country, and Jamaica like countless destinations across the globe, has this opportunity at its finger tips. We must retool by channelling greater investment into the tourism sector to meet the demand of customers for quality and value at the right price.”
Minister Bartlett expressed that: “tourism has proven its resilience and can be manipulated and managed to drive the process of economic recovery to the creation of real wealth for a nation and its nationals.” He added that: “we need to focus on developing, refurbishing, and innovating. Critical to this is the introduction of new technology, new room-stock in order to attain a new look and ensure that our product and rooms remain fresh and crisp.”
“Our business models must drive greater efficiencies as we embrace service excellence and focus on investing in the training of our workers and building future capacity. To achieve this, the public and private sectors must collaborate and cooperate to create the fiscal space necessary to enable investment and retooling,” Minister Bartlett outlined.
In highlighting recent moves to enhance the Jamaican tourism product, Minister Bartlett underscored that there have been major investment projects in cruise-shipping and other areas which have resulted in job creation and have also brought wealth to the citizens of the country.
The Minister said: “the opening of the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier, a project of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the recent announcement of the Fiesta Hotel Group’s US$280 million expansion plans are just two examples of Jamaica’s capacity to attract solid investment to its tourism sector. In addition the Fiesta expansion project is expected to generate some 3000 jobs for Jamaicans. Furthermore both investments will boost the local economies in the surrounding communities in multiple sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, transport and the service industry.”