New York City’s buzzing excitement heightened with the natural groove and flow of the distinct Caribbean flavors extending in the city. It is of course, Caribbean Heritage Month and in New York City several Caribbean celebrations are taking place. Among the celebrations was last week’s annual gathering of all the Caribbean nations exhibiting their best in the tourism industry, propelling and branding their respective countries during Caribbean Tourism Week, June 3-10.
Jamaica is at the helm of the tourism industry around the world with a strong message on tourism. The Jamaican Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, seized some time while in New York to engage and update the Jamaican Diaspora on their role to help make tourism an economic boost to the Jamaican economy.
The meeting took place at the Jamaican Consulate General Office in Manhattan on Wednesday, June 7 during the Caribbean Tourism Week of activities. Jamaica’s Consul General for the Eastern Districts in the United States, Trudy Deans, welcomed Minister Bartlett along with some of his fellow ministers of government, who were present, including Minister of Finance Audley Shaw, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith and Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz. Some of the ministers while en route to other destinations, stopped in New York City and participated in government businesses as they briefly explained the reasons for their visits and the work their respective ministry was doing to enhance the tourism industry in Jamaica.
Bartlet began with the capped words, “this is an important week for Jamaica, to update the industry and make tourism a lead to Jamaica’s economy,” in his opening comments. He said Jamaica has prepared an ambitious agenda to help fortify growth in tourism. The Ministry of Tourism, he noted, will examine areas never researched before. “We will navigate new markets in agriculture, network through social media, and establish Jamaica as a center for celebration. A place where you can indulge in science, arts, culture, social sciences and anthropology, where you can trace your heritage.”
Minister Bartlett said that he firmly believed that the new goal can only be realized through an establish agenda, one that includes all the linkages to empower the tourism experience. “People travel for experiences and so we must build, create linkages for the local businesses, farmers, little street vendors, taxi drivers with old cars and hoteliers. Our job is to empower the experience of the consumers,” Bartlett reiterated. Jamaica will have to invest in capital to train and network people involved in all aspects of the tourism industry. “We will create an enabling environment to produce the things tourism needs,” he said.
In explaining further on how to administer strategies for growth in the industry, Bartlett said “another aspect of the development is training and proficiency for everyone in the industry.” “An institution will be established to help prepare more people in the Tourism Industry, for the market to grow. Those who were never formally trained will be able to, through the Jamaica Center for Tourism and Innovation, an accredited program,” Bartlett added. He said all elements that were needed to enhance the tourism industry “will be allowed, to have the dollars stay in Jamaica.”
Bartlett announced also that an International Conference on Tourism will take place in Jamaica from Nov. 26-29, 2017. The conference agenda will accommodate 157 ministers of tourism from across the globe, already over 528 private companies have registered to participate in this event. During the meeting Bartlett announced also that tourism had seen a 3.8 percent increase in stop over and a 6.7 percent in revenue increase in Jamaica’s tourism sector since the last five months. “We are on track to make the 5 percent growth in the industry within the next three years.” In his closing comments, Bartlett reminded the Diaspora of the upcoming Diaspora Conference planned for July 23-27, 2017 in Jamaica and asked for the full support of the members in attendance.