Tourism Ministry to develop Innovation Council
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett says a Tourism Innovation Council will be developed, under the newly restructured Tourism Enhancement Fund, to drive ground-breaking ideas within the industry and to encourage more Jamaicans to become entrepreneurs.
Speaking at a TEF Board of Directors meeting the minister noted that “the board that will drive innovation is now going to change. Instead of there being a board of governance for the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation, I will now have an Innovation Council that will work alongside the Tourism Linkages Council, who I believe are also the drivers of experiential tourism in the island.”
He noted that his ministry has begun looking at prospects to join the council, who have vast experience in business start-ups and innovation.
“Tourism is not just about what we do to market the destination, but the driving of entrepreneurship, which will play a great role in who we select for this council. In fact, a key aspect of the TEF transformation will be to provide entrepreneurs with information to modify their business models as needed, to adapt to new trends in the industry and by extension keep their businesses afloat,” said the minister.
TEF will focus on developing innovative projects, and enabling iconic attractions to be developed across the island. Within the area of projects, it will also continue its role in ensuring see to the destination enhancement by way of building out the physical infrastructure.
The new model will see TEF expanding to include new divisions such as the Tourism Linkages Network, the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) and the Craft Development Institute.
“With this new change we have been able to look at more targeted budgeting and at a more careful analysis of our projects and objectives. As a result, we are in a better position to manage and measure the outcomes. So, the budget we prepared this year reflects what we have expended and what we intend to extend,” said the Minister.
In his presentation to the board, he emphasised that TEF needs to look beyond just enhancing the physical beauty of the resort areas but to find more ways to empower the people of Jamaica to own tourism by creating innovative ideas to improve the tourism experience of the island.
“To build the capacity to create new travel experiences is to be able to retain your position on the cutting edge of the marketplace. This board in fulfilling the new mandate of the TEF, which is now to build capacity and enable our people to do more for themselves and take a more entrepreneurial approach to tourism rather than seeking to be employees of tourism,” he said.
The members of the new innovation council will be announced at a later date.