KINGSTON, Jamaica: During an award ceremony last week, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said the tourism sector is the most resilient of all industries, with the fastest capacity for turnaround.
Speaking at the Spruce Up Jamaica Tourism Essay Competition, Bartlett said even the United States was now looking to tourism to help it make a fast recovery from its current recession.
“We came out of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) within 18 months after it was dealt with. We came out of 9/11 within a year afterwards, H1N1 is on us and it is not really damaging the tourism too much. When hurricanes come, six to nine months we are back on track. No other industry offers us that capability to turnaround,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett said Jamaica’s success in achieving growth in the tourism sector, in a year when the tourism sector of most countries is reeling from the effects of the worldwide economic recession, must not be downplayed.
“I just came out of a world conference where Jamaica was put on the pinnacle, so to speak, (in terms) of those countries’ performance in tourism for this particular year of downturn, of the greatest recession that the world has seen in 80 years,” he told guests at the ceremony.
Bartlett also said Jamaica has been recognized among the top 10 growth destinations in the world.
Bartlett’s statements were corroborated by Executive Director of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Camille Needham, who noted tourism has experienced growth this year, while other sectors have declined.
“I do want, on behalf of the JHTA, to congratulate the minister and his team for an outstanding job. And, minister, we are not embarrassed to acknowledge that. We are proud of the fact that Jamaica is very much a beacon for the rest of the world in this regard,” Needham said.
The Spruce Up Jamaica Essay Competition invited youths across Jamaica to submit essays dealing with either the importance of heritage and culture to tourism, or how a clean and healthy environment impacts on tourism earnings. (JIS)