Tourism minister Edmund Bartlett has praised the more than 377,000 employees across the tourism sector for playing a vital role in Jamaica, which is now on track to secure more than a record four million visitors to Jamaica by year end.
“It is projected that by the end of this year, the island will welcome 4.303 million visitors and earn US$3.7 billion. That’s approximately 700,000 more visitors in the last three years and almost double the earnings in the same period,” Bartlett said.
He explained that the sector currently employs 127,600 employees directly and approximately 250,000 indirectly. While accepting that the Ministry of Tourism and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) collectively market and promote Jamaica globally, Bartlett emphasised that it was the employees across the industry who were the real heroes.
“We know that without our dedicated workers, the sector would not enjoy this unprecedented growth and success. This is one of the reasons why my ministry has placed human capital development as a critical pillar in our growth strategies. It is because of your professionalism and warm hospitality that we continue to enjoy an enviable repeat visitor rate of 42 per cent,” he stressed.
Bartlett was delivering the keynote address at the recent staging of the third graduation ceremony of the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) programme, which in partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Institute and the American Culinary Foundation have provided training and certification of more than 1,300 employees in various categories in the sector since 2017.
HIGH SCHOOL BENEFICIARIES
Bartlett also said approximately 650 high school students across the island are currently benefiting from the JCTI’s $100-million Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme, which will see them gaining internationally recognised certification in the sector.
He has given the commitment that his ministry will continue to provide tourism workers with the opportunities towards their professional development.