Bartlett bemoans earning disparity among big and small tourism players
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is lamenting the disparity in earnings in the hospitality sector between small players and their bigger counterparts.
“The small and medium business sector contributes most to Jamaica tourism, yet only 20 per cent of SMTE revenue returns to their benefit,” Bartlett argued
“Today (Tuesday) we recharged the dialogue on how to rebalance that anomaly, and to back good ideas with investment capital,” he stated.
The minister was speaking at the Second Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises, which was co-presented by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
He said strategies are in place to allow SMTEs to understand their potential, thereby moving from “mom and pop” operators to established, reliable sources of sustainable and long-term income.
More than 80 per cent of tourism is driven by small and medium sized enterprises in Jamaica.
“Increasing investment in national economies and its citizens will only result in having greater resources to provide an enhanced visitor experience,” said Bartlett. “Here in Jamaica, it is through a broad range of strategies, such as education, specialised training and credit financing, that is enabling us to professionalise Jamaica’s tourism industry so more of our citizens can be on par with travel professionals around the world,” he added.
With a record-breaking 4.31 million travelers visiting Jamaica in 2018, Bartlett said the island nation’s tourism industry is poised to boost its rate of growth by expanding investments in small and medium sized business enterprises.
He bemoaned the lack of retention of the tourism earnings in Jamaica.
Bartlett stated that the conference was being used to commence the discussion on how to create the linkages that assist in stopping the leakages in tourism.
More than 200 SMTE members convened at the convention centre to participate in discussions led by an impressive roster of local and international speakers and panelists that included: Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Audley Shaw; Jaime Cabal, Deputy Secretary-General, UNWTO; Nestor Mendez, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States; and keynote remarks by Álvaro Uribe Vélez, the former President of Colombia.