Tuesday 26 March, 2019

Jamaica integrating citizens into the tourism industry

Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett

Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett

Jamaican citizens are being integrated into the island’s tourism industry.

Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said they have developed a slew of policy arrangements to integrate the ordinary Jamaican into the value chain of tourism. The initiatives focus on training, financing, and marketing.

Speaking to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) at ITB Berlin, Bartlett said tourism workers are being certified through accreditation centres such as the American Hotel and Lodging Institute, the American Culinary Foundation, and institutions such as the University of Valencia in Spain.

“To enable our workers to be on par with the workers of the world of tourism so they can migrate anywhere in the world and take up strong positions but more importantly they could give a higher quality of service because service is a key point of differentiation. Sixty percent of the value of the visitor is the service and that is what will make them pay a higher price when they get not just high touch service but service that exceeds their expectations,” he said.

Bartlett said another area of focus is to create financing for the conversion of ideas into material things. He said small and medium tourism enterprises in Jamaica have available a billion dollar loan facility at the Exim bank, on lend at 4.5 percent per annum over a five year repayment period and they can access loans from five million to JA25 million.

“That is important for start-ups and getting refurbishment of small facilities and generally making them fresh and crisp.

The third element is marketing, he said. Marketing opportunities are created via online platforms so people can buy into the experience before they reach on the island.

“We have established apps, we have created one called Alex which is an agricultural application for the small farmers to connect with the hotels so that the small farmers can position their wares, the hotels know where they are, the hotel knows the prices and they can buy. All of these are to encourage the production of local goods to be consumed in the industry but importantly to create connectivity between these small players and the main buyers of the tourism sector,” he said.  

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