New ministers meet with Jamaica’s tourism body


KINGSTON, Jamaica: Newly appointed Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, and Minister of State, Damion Crawford, met with members of the executive of The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) last week as part of a series of meetings with key stakeholders and industry partners.

“The purpose of today’s meeting was to ensure that we get off on the right footing as we assume leadership of this all-important sector,” Dr. McNeill said. “We think it is vital to meet with all our partners and stakeholders in the industry. We intend to have an inclusive and open ministry, driven by consultation and dialogue.”

He added that “this is in-keeping with the drive to ensure that this government is characterized by inclusiveness and a willingness to engage our partners.”

Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Jennifer Griffith, Director General, Carrole Guntley and Director of Tourism, John Lynch, also attended the meeting.

“We examined several issues which are of concern to the JHTA, such as the upkeep of resort areas, cruise tourism, tax reform, marketing, and strengthening the linkages between tourism and other sectors,” McNeill said.

The minister said that “today’s meeting was excellent and I was heartened by the friendly mood which was really an affirmation of the close relationship I have with the JHTA. Having discussed several of the key issues, we are now going to move forward together as we seek to tackle them and develop our industry.”

President of the JHTA, Evelyn Smith, said she was satisfied with the results of the meeting, adding, “our association was very pleased to know that the minister could meet with us so quickly after assuming office.

“It was a very positive meeting in terms of outlining the concerns that the industry has, areas that we see that will foster growth and matters that we need to work on in a spirit of collaboration.

“We have a few issues that we will be examining in greater detail with the minister. We were assured of the level of consultation that we will have and we look forward to hosting the minister in our various chapters as well.”

Following the meeting with the JHTA, McNeill said he will be meeting with other stakeholders in the tourism and entertainment industries.

“These meetings will give us a greater appreciation of the issues and challenges affecting them and how we are going to move forward together to address them,” he said.

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