Monday 22 October, 2018

Tourism working group to focus on EPA’s impact on local industry

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has met with the Tourism Working Group that has been set up to review a range of issues within the sector including the Economic Partnership Agreements, work permits, ground transportation and entertainment among others.

“The working group, with technical arrangements being led by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) partner  Wilfred Baghaloo,  is committed to strategically looking at cores issues that have arisen in the sector with a view to resolving each one,

The meeting today which included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, focused on the impact of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) on local tourism suppliers,” said Bartlett.

The Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and regions, of which Jamaica is a signatory,  aim to promote ACP-EU trade – and ultimately contribute, through trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Baghaloo added that, “This is an introductory review of the EPA agreement and is but one of many areas the group will be focusing on. There will be a further review of the EPA and its impact on local suppliers and a report with recommendations.”

Bartlett reiterated that “The main aim of this activity is to ensure that all local suppliers are given equal opportunities within the sector to benefit from the tremendous economic growth in tourism,

The working group will therefore review all areas that impact our local tourism suppliers’ capacity to deliver in an increasingly competitive and growing sector as well as equal opportunities for them to adequately compete.”

The Working Group is chaired by Tourism Linkages Council head and Hotelier, Adam Stewart and has been expanded to include: Prominent Business leaders, Michael McMorris and Godfrey Dyer; Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), President, Omar Robinson and Senior Executive, Nicola Madden-Greig; President of the Jamaica Cooperative Automobile and Limousine Services (JCAL), Brian Thelwell; Jamaica Vacations, Chairman, Bert Wright; National Craft Traders and Producers Association, President, Melody Haughton-Adams; Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Spencer and representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Ministry of Labour and Social Security; Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) and the Ministry of Tourism.

Over the next couple of weeks, the group will meet to work on the various issues including entertainment, training and certification, issuing of work permits, craft vendors, ground transportation, and information for the Tourism Demand Study and present a proposal on the way forward by September this year.

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