“We are seeing excellent results coming out of our linkages initiatives, particularly our Speed Networking events, which have received tremendous support from the hotel sector,” he told JIS News in an interview on April 12.
“The S Hotel, Half Moon Resort, the Sandals and Hendrickson Groups, and more recently the Spanish hotel chain, H10, are just a few of the properties that have already engaged local suppliers or are in negotiation to purchase ‘Made in Jamaica’ goods and services,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He added that the Tourism Ministry is hoping to increase considerably the over $630 million in contracts that have resulted from three years of Speed Networking events.
“We want the day to come shortly when every hotel in Jamaica is only importing what we cannot produce locally,” the Minister said.
“This is the only way to build an inclusive and sustainable tourism sector that redounds to the benefit of all Jamaicans and facilitates the infusion of tourism spend into local economies across the island,” he argued.
The Minister said that, to this end, the Government has also been investing heavily in infrastructural development, including the modernisation and expansion of the two international airports; improvement of the road network; and expansion and development of the cruise-ship piers.
“At the same time, we are investing in the development of Jamaica’s human capital. The Ministry is helping the sector to meet the rising demand for skilled labour by providing hospitality training to students as well as certifying and advancing the skills of existing service providers. The Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) is driving this initiative,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He added that the increasing number of visitors and the evolving profile of today’s discerning traveller demand high-quality products and immersive holiday experiences.
“We are diversifying our product accordingly, using the five networks of the Tourism Linkages Network – Gastronomy; Sports and Entertainment; Health and Wellness; Shopping, and Knowledge,” Mr. Bartlett further explained.
He said the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is aggressively marketing in new and traditional markets with exceptional results, as evidenced by the record visitor arrival numbers.
The Minister said the Destination Assurance Programme, driven by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), has been ramped up, “as we take strategic steps to improve the safety and security of our visitors and citizens, while ensuring that all aspects of the tourism product are right and that we truly deliver on what we promise when we market Jamaica”.
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