Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the tourism industry, despite its challenges, is experiencing a very good summer season.
The Minister made the pronouncement while addressing participants at the 36th Annual Convention of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO) on July 19 at the Secrets Wild Orchid Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James.
Dr. McNeil noted that the prospects for investments are good and that Jamaica was regaining its airlifts out of the United Kingdom as well as having successes building on airlifts out of Canada
He however, pointed out the need to broaden the tourism connections to other sectors of the country’s economy.
“My position is that the people of Jamaica are the chief architects of our tourism sector. As a Ministry we want the people in the communities to be as integrally involved in the process as we are, after all, these are your communities that the tourists are visiting. The influence of our communities in the growth and development of our tourism is tremendous and should not be underestimated,” Dr. McNeill said.
He also explained that the Tourism Ministry now needs to ensure that more of the products and foods that are being consumed in the hotels locally are grown and manufactured in Jamaica.
“We need to ensure that as we seek to earn more from the number of visitors coming to our shore, we capitalize on that potential and keep what we earn here in Jamaica. We are in the process of ensuring that there is dialogue between hotels and farmers/manufacturers through a linkages hub – so that the information can be available as to what are the available items here,” Dr. McNeill said.
He informed that such initiatives serve to preserve aspects of the Jamaican way of life and further enrich the tourism product. “They also serve to bring the benefits of tourism to our people where they live,” he said.
Contact: Glenis A. Rose