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Posted: Wednesday 22 May, 2024 at 10:58 AM

Minister Bartlett: The region’s tourism has returned

By: Staff Reporter,

    ...Jamaica’s art, culture, and dance on show as CHTA Conference gets underway


    MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- THE importance of tourism to the region was underscored by Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, as the Caribbean continues to show a significant rebound from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, recording a 3 percent growth.


    Since the pandemic-induced contraction of the sector, the region has slowly seen an uptick in the numbers, with some quarterly figures showing a decline in comparative numbers. However, overall data presented by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Authority has painted a positive picture for the region.


    With tourism stakeholders gathered in Montego Bay for the 42nd CHTA Marketplace, an event bringing together stakeholders and media from around the world, the government has been showcasing the islands and the positive trends within the industry.


    Just as the excitement builds with the vibe and culture on display, so do the numbers for the region. Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, described the region as the “most tourism-dependent region on the planet,” noting that GDP contributions range from seven percent to 95 percent of economies.


    During his presentation at Monday (May 20) night's opening ceremony, Bartlett highlighted the critical nature of tourism in the region, pointing out that it accommodates 20 percent of the region's workforce, or more than 1 million Caribbean people.


    “Over 1 million people work in the Caribbean from tourism, but more importantly, in excess of 50 percent of the foreign exchange generated in the Caribbean is from tourism,” noted Bartlett.


    “So for us, a recovery is not just a hope, it's not a wish, it's not a desire; it's an imperative. And what a way we have recovered. I really want to commend all the partners, most of whom are here, who have enabled a strong recovery from COVID for tourism in the Caribbean. Indeed, when the numbers are read and the regions of the world are enumerated in terms of recovery levels, the Caribbean stands out because we have recovered better than most, even the bigger regions of the world. It can be said today that the Caribbean is fully recovered and growing, and some of us are now growing in double digits over 2019, and that's exciting.”


    However, amidst the praise for the recovery, there is an acknowledgment that much more needs to be done. The region must now unify, rather than compete, when it comes to the tourism product being offered.


    Bartlett emphasized to the gathering the need for the region to embrace “collaboration, cooperation, and convergence” as the new C words since COVID. He urged the region to foster a spirit of cooperation to enhance tourism growth.


    By undertaking this approach, the Jamaican minister believes tourism will grow stronger and better for all in the region, with growth benefiting everyone across the board.


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