Thursday 20 September, 2018

Bartlett touts tourism growth despite state of emergency jitters

Edmund Bartlett

Edmund Bartlett

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says despite the initial feeling of nervousness among players in the sector at the announcement of the state of public emergency, stopover arrivals increased by nearly seven per cent during the first quarter of this year.

A state of emergency was declared January in St James.

He noted that the state of emergency was a proactive step taken by the Government to guarantee a safe secure environment.

"Jamaica has acted proactively and that has enabled us to have a good conversation in the marketplace, thanks to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Commissioner Anderson and the commissioner before him, and Minister Chang and the Minister before him," Bartlett said.

"We acted proactively and so the SOE that we instituted caused a feeling initially of jitters. But those jitters quickly dissipated in the face of a narrative which indicated a determination to continue a tradition of the Caribbean been a safe, secure and seamless destination," he continued, noting that "As a result of which the first quarter of the year in Jamaica, we grew by 6.6 per cent in arrivals and that is coming off a record year last year where we grew by 12 per cent and had a record 4.3 million visitors to our country."

He said the continued growth of the industry is predicated on the assurance of safety, security and selflessness.

The tourism minister was speaking at the the opening of the 33rd Annual General Meeting of the ACCP at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James on Monday morning.

He noted that, "there is a creeping volcano....rumbling sounds of insecurity that is pervading our Caribbean space.

"These rumblings are not only in Jamaica,  they are in Trinidad, they are in St Kitts and Nevis; and they are in Bahamas, they are in Barbados, they are in the BVI, and so this meeting is timed properly to listen to those rumblings and for us in our discourses the next two days to craft some responses to deal with these seismic tremors that are now rippling across our region," the tourism minister said.