Tourism Service Excellence Awards Ceremony 2018 - Full Speech

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Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett; Dr. Carole Guntley, Chair of the Tourism Excellence Awards Committee; Dr. Andrew Spencer, Executive Director Tourism Product Development Company; Mr. Godfrey Dyer, Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund; Mr Omar Robinson, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association; specially invited guests, semi-finalists. I am honoured and privileged to have been invited to deliver the keynote address at this prestigious event where we recognize the excellent service of the men, women and organizations dedicated to keeping Jamaica as the number one tourist destination. I want to applaud TPDCo for hosting this event – it is a true reflection of the appreciation for all those who work in the tourism industry.Ladies and gentlemen I want to congratulate Minister Bartlett on his recent award as World Tourism Minister of the year by the prestigious Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA). This comes on the heels of him being awarded the Caribbean Tourism Minister of the Year award by the Caribbean Journal.

You know the most inspiring leadership is by example and Minister Bartlett’s passionate leadership and dedication to the industry is inspiringI don’t know how many of you are able to keep up with his recent activities as he aggressively pursues the growth strategy for the Tourism industry - it has been reaping success. More recently the Minister was on CNN representing Brand Jamaica and it was an impressive interview. 
One of the nicest complements I have ever heard about our beloved country was from Barrack Obama who said, "It is a great pleasure to visit Jamaica, known for its beauty and the extraordinary spirit of its people”. His sentiment was true then and it is true now.  
We have a lot to celebrate.
Jamaica has Bob Marley and reggae music, Usain Bolt and great food – Brand Jamaica is a gem and the envy of the world.
At the World Travel Awards in 2016 Jamaica won 9 of the coveted awards which included – World’s Leading Wedding Destination; World’s Leading Cruise Destination and World’s Leading Caribbean Attraction Company.
TripAdvisor® ranked Jamaica as the #12 Best Destination in the World in 2017 and one of the top three islands in the world in 2016. I think we can be #1.
 Jamaica welcomed four million passengers in 2017 which represented a record in arrivals.
The visitors spent over US$3 billion in the island or 11.7 per cent higher spend than in 2016, according to Ministry of Tourism estimates.
Jamaica recently gained international recognition as Tourism Location of the Future- by the Financial Times – fDi intelligence magazine.
We have investments of over USD 1 billion with over 16 live projects from Negril to Montego Bay to Trelawny to Ocho Rios to Port Antonio and to Kingston.
Ladies and gentlemen I believe the best is yet to come.
Vision 2030 - is the 'roadmap' for making "Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.
Jamaica’s Vision 2030 includes a long term strategic plan for the tourism industry. It forecasts an inclusive, world-class, distinctly Jamaican experience.  An industry that will share the opportunities and wealth created among more Jamaicans, so that more people will benefit. Tourism will become a major contributor to socio-economic and cultural development, with a well-educated, highly skilled and motivated workforce at all levels within a safe, secure and sustainably managed environment. 
The Ministry of Tourism in support of the Government’s strategic priority of economic growth and job creation is pursuing a 5 in 5 in 5 growth strategy. The strategy targets a 5% increase in visitor arrivals annually and US$5 billion in foreign exchange earnings within a five-year period.
These are ambitious goals and as a businessman it is music to my ears. To run a successful company, “what gets measured, gets done” and so I would like to therefore suggest if it’s not being done already that a comprehensive strategic and operating plan be developed where the 5 years are broken down to annual targets with clear deliverables and who is accountable to ensure the targets are delivered. I understand that some of these deliverables will be cross ministerial and this is why it is important to get the full support on the initiative and to have measurable targets and accountability.
If we achieve the 5x5x5 initiative we will go a far way in realizing Vision 2030.  
I feel very strongly that the success of the government’s stated objectives of a 5% in 4 years growth strategy heavily depends on the success of the tourism industry. We must never take anything for granted. It is my opinion that tourism in Jamaica in spite of all its successes still has a wealth of untapped potential for future growth and game changing results. We have to treat it as the precious gem that it is – care it -protect it – cherish it - so it can achieve its full potential.
To put it into context the direct contribution to GDP was reported at JMD 162.6 billion or 9.3% of total GDP and was forecast to rise by 4.6% in 2017. It was calculated to increase at a rate of 5.0% per annum over the period 2017- 2027[1]
There is a lot to be said, however I want to focus on 2 important areas
i) encouraging small businesses to participate in the industry (which develops and strengthens linkages – spreads the wealth) and ii) the welfare of the men and women employed in the industry.
1-1. encouraging small business participation & linkages
Innovation is key to the success of the tourism industry in Jamaica. An attitude of enterprise and innovation at all levels must be embraced if the tourism industry in Jamaica is to be used as a catalyst for economic regeneration and development.
This is why I support initiatives that foster partnerships – which provide access to local products, builds capacity, and supports the development of supply chains.
This is what Sandals did when it started a $25 million programme with potato farmers; it has seized a win-win opportunity to partner with the farmers to reduce the hotels import bill and in return create direct added revenue and a market for the farming communities. This programme is in keeping with the Vision 2030 thrust to reduce the import bill and to share the wealth/ earnings with other sectors. 
The current business climate is good for small businesses to expand in the Tourism industry. There are multiple opportunities for all to access: 
The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has committed a  $1-billion loan facility to assist small and medium-sized tourism enterprises to upgrade their properties and attractions;  access to EXIM Bank for loans between $5 and $25 million at an interest rate of 5% and is geared toward the small and medium enterprises; The “Christmas in July” exhibition – a collaborative effort with the JMA, JHTA, JBDC and JAMPRO. This is an opportunity for local producers to i) showcase their authentic Jamaican gift and souvenir items and ii) to network with various corporate entities and industry stakeholders. The desired outcome is to boost the purchase and use of more local goods and services
Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Event –my understanding is that this is already showing excellent results in the increased consumption of local goods and services with corresponding job creation involving more Jamaicans in the tourism value chain.
Establishing strong sustainable linkages and the creation of market opportunities is important to drive growth in the sector and the economy. Because any growth in the sector will impact other areas of national development (such as the creative industry, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, sports, and entertainment) and will stimulate the local consumption of goods and services.   
2- welfare of the employees
Tourism directly employs over 106,000 Jamaicans, while generating indirect jobs for another 250,000 Jamaicans (or one in every four Jamaicans) in linked sectors.
I have said it before and I will say it again - the most valuable asset a company has is its people. Not inventory; not cash; not receivables. The tourism industry’s most valuable assets are the men and women who every single day that they are on the job give stellar service. 
These individuals are dedicated to providing world class service which keeps Jamaica’s name first and foremost in the minds of millions as one of the world’s best tourist destinations. They reinforce our nation’s reputation each time they interact with visitors. 
We must protect and enrich our people and I strongly support the policies aimed at addressing the welfare of the industry’s employees. 
Colleagues, I listened to the Minister’s sectoral presentation in Parliament last year - where he spoke about housing for employees in the tourism industry and that a survey was done and report prepared – I have not seen the report but I understand that an estimated 85% of the 847 responses indicated they did not own a house. Jamaicans dream of two things – i) giving their children a good education and ii) owning their own home. 
I think that as a country we need to prioritize – to develop a housing solution for the men and women who work in the industry to be able to access affordable housing whether through an NHT initiative or a private initiative –this should be the number one priority.
I understand that the Cabinet has given approval for the drafting of Tourism Employees Pension Act. Establishing the pension fund is an excellent idea and great way to build and add value to our human resource capital and the legislation is timely. 
Minister I implore you to fast track these initiatives so they become fully operational realities. I think that this would be by far the best way to show appreciation to all the professionals who work in the industry and would be a fulfilment of the vision to share wealth and benefits of the growing sector.
The tourism sector is expanding. Any growth in the industry will see an increase in job creation and economic growth. This improves the climate for further investment.
We need to continue on the path of establishing linkages to spread/share the benefits. I want to encourage small and medium sized businesses to support the industry because it will benefit commerce for all.

Let us continue to value our assets – reward our employees, protect them. Preserve our natural resources not just for the sake of tourism but for our health, well-being and enjoyment and for the generations to come.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to change how we think –we need to visualize opportunities - generate new ideas – embark on new initiatives. We are moving forward energetically let’s speak more about the positives of our country and what we can do to build our nation. That’s what makes tonight so special --IT is positive!

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Tourism Minister to Garner Support for Global Disaster Resilience Centre in South America

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KINGSTON, Jamaica; April 11, 2018: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett leaves the island today to attend a series of meetings in South America. While there, he is expected to make a presentation on the Global Disaster Resilience Centre that is to be established in Jamaica, as well as garner more support for Small and Medium Sized Tourism Enterprises.

The centre, which was first announced at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) global conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism held in Montego Bay last November, will be located at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

It is being designed to help vulnerable states to recover quickly from natural disasters and is currently endorsed by World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.

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Tourism Commissioner Tells Partners USVI Open for Business

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Photo Credit: (From left) JetBlue Airways' Jack Massey and Dylan Kleopfer, Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director David Mapp, Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty and JetBlue's Eric Tanner in New York this week.

Commissioner Nicholson-Doty meets with media and airline representatives in Atlanta, Chicago and New York

NEW YORK (April 14, 2018) - U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty continues to make audiences across the U.S. mainland and the globe aware that the Territory is open for business.

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A Jamaican Traditional Healer Needs Our Support

Bongo-at-Zimbali

Westmoreland, Jamaica, W.I. (January 12, 2018). Bongo Roache of Westmoreland, Jamaica is one of our popular indigenous certified herbalist/practitioner and a Rastafarian. He has been practicing close to 40 years and freely offers his wisdom and healing methods to all. Today, he needs our support.

On the 31st of December Bongo had an unfortunate fall, stepping on a rock on his farm, he lost his balance, fell and fractured his left hip. He is presently in hospital awaiting a date for surgery, which has yet to be decided. Therefore, he has asked to receive private surgery at a competent hospital to immediately address any undue blood clotting trauma or misalignment of his hip, which would impair proper walking. Presently at the Savanna La Mar hospital in stable but sometimes painful condition, Bongo requires an implant to repair his hip fracture. After the operation he will require physiotherapy for several weeks to assist him to walk again. 

During his convalescence, he will be unable to practice his livelihood, denying his usual income, which comes from planting, reaping and preparing his herbal remedies from his home base and herbal practice at Zimbali Retreat, Canaan Mountain, Westmoreland. Mr. Mark Swainbank the owner of Zimbali Retreat and Sharon Parris Chambers, Health & Wellness Consultant, have both decided to source donations through “Go Fund Me" to assist Bongo Roache. 

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Spirit Airlines Adding More Flights to Jamaica

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sunday January 7, 2018 – Spirit Airlines will be increasing flights to Jamaica in March.

It has announced additional flights to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay from Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Maryland, United States, from March 22.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett hailed this development as yet another indication of the increasing demand for Jamaica and augurs very well for the tourism growth strategy.

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CARICOM Moving to Create World’s First Climate Resilient Region

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CARICOM’s incoming chairman, Jovenel Moise of Haiti, says the absolute necessity to create a climate smart region is clear, given the effects of climate change which have brought destructive hurricanes

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Wednesday January 3, 2018 – With the Bahamas and Dominica which were hit hard by hurricanes in September both aiming to be the world’s first climate resilient nations, the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has a similar goal.

CARICOM’s incoming chairman, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse says it’s aiming to create the first climate resilient region in the world.

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Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett on Jamaica-Led UNWTO Initiative to Assist in Caribbean Recovery

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Jamaica's Ministry of Tourism

KINGSTON, Jamaica, October 4, 2017:  Jamaica continues to extend our thoughts and prayers to our Caribbean brothers and sisters, especially residents in those islands that took a direct hit from the recent hurricanes and to everyone who has been or will be affected as a result of these catastrophic storms.

We recognize that the entire Caribbean region will be adversely impacted by the lasting results of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and have set a course of action that is designed to minimize the long-term effect on the region.

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Mandarin Oriental Begins Management of Canouan’s Pink Sands Club

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The brand began managing the resort on Oct 1; in the first quarter of 2018, the property will be fully reflagged and renamed as the Mandarin Oriental, Canouan.

The property has a total of 26 suites and 12 villas; it also includes a beachside infinity pool, three night-lit tennis courts, a fitness center and a kids’ club.

The five-square-mile island is home to a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a superyacht marina and the largest natural coral reef in the southern Caribbean.

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Reggae Fans Around the World to View FREE LiveStreams of Reggae Sumfest

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Join Millions of Reggae Fans Around the World in Viewing FREE LiveStreams of Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest 25th Anniversary Festival on July 21 & 22

Join the greatest Reggae and Dancehall Festival in the world, Reggae Sumfest, 25th Anniversary edition, in Montego Bay, JA via LiveStream at 8pm (Jamaican time) on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22.  You can check the World Timezone calculator here

The free, cutting-edge global live streaming can be accessed from http://reggaesumfest.com/#livestreams. Once there, simply choose your stream option: HD Broadcast Livestream and/or 360° Livestream.

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Tourism Minister to Host Tourism Knowledge Exchange Forum 2017 in Washington DC

KINGSTON, Jamaica; June 20, 2017:  Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett will join leading tourism stakeholders in Washington DC tomorrow (June 21) for the Tourism Knowledge Exchange Forum 2017, which is expected to highlight the latest innovations in sustainable tourism development.

The event is being organized by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with Chemonics International, George Washington University and the World Bank Group. It is expected to bring together leaders and achievers in the tourism industry – such as representatives from the World Economic Forum, AirBnb and Harvard University – to discuss the impacts of the shared economy, new systems for measuring tourism impact and indicators as a driver of understanding competitiveness

“It is critical for us to have a sustainable presence in the international marketplace, especially in instances where we can strategize the way ahead for tourism. I am therefore very pleased to join organizers to discuss how we can better incorporate the key enablers of sustainable tourism destination development and competitiveness,” said Minister Bartlett.

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Tourism to Play Greater Role in Reducing Crime, says Tourism Minister Bartlett

Tourism to Play Greater Role in Reducing Crime, says Tourism Minister Bartlett

KINGSTON, Jamaica; June 19, 2017: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says, though the destination is not at risk, his Ministry will increase efforts to tackle the issue of crime affecting the people of Jamaica. 

Addressing delegates at the 56th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and awards luncheon of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Saturday (June 17), Minister Bartlett said, “safety and security must be a feature of our own existence as a people, because tourism is not just about the visitor but about the people in the destination and we have to act on protecting our people first.”

The Minister went on to state that the Ministry of Tourism is working closely with the Ministry of National Security to ensure that local national security becomes aligned with tourism security.

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AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY

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Photo Caption:    African Liberation Day, also known as ALD, was founded in 1958 by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the occasion of the First Conference of Independent States held in Accra, Ghana and attended by eight independent African states.                                     

                                                      AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY

25th May 2017. African Liberation Day presents to us an opportunity to remind ourselves that we are determined as African people and the DÈaspora to make our continent become one of the best continents in industrializations, identity and ideology. This day was founded in 1958 in commemoration of the people of Africa to free themselves from colonialism, exploitation, foreign domination and imperialism.

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Tourism Luminaries Headed to CHIEF Event in Miami

Tourism Luminaries Headed to CHIEF Event in Miami

Source: CaribbeanJournal.com

An accomplished roster of speakers, including a top executive from Virgin Atlantic, a leading authority on tourism intelligence and a host of respected hoteliers, will address delegates attending the annual Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum, slated to take place from June 2 to 4 at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association reports that Britain’s Mark Anderson, Executive Vice President at Virgin Atlantic, and Trinidadian Dr. Auliana Poon, Managing Director of Tourism Intelligence International, are among the list of speakers for the forum, which features a number of educational sessions.

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Minister Bartlett Tests His Culinary Skills in Spain

Minister Bartlett Tests His Culinary Skills in Spain

(Bartlett_Spain2)KINGSTON, Jamaica; May 10, 2017:  Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (second right) and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith (second left) participate in a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) workshop on the creation of sustainable gastronomy tourism products. The culinary work shop, which included practical case studies, forms part of the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, taking place in San Sebastian, Spain, from May 8-9, 2017. San Sebastián is a world reference point for Gastronomy Tourism. Minister Bartlett said that the experience will be vital to the further development of the gastronomy tourism product locally, which is being driven through the Ministry’s Tourism Linkages Network. He returns to the island on May 13, 2017.

 

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EARTH DAY MESSAGE 2017 FROM HON. EDMUND BARTLETT, CD, MP

We join the world today in recognising and celebrating the importance of environmental preservation, through the observance of Earth Day.  The Ministry of Tourism and its Agencies wholeheartedly support the mission of environmental protection and preservation which this day seeks to achieve.

Jamaica is blessed to have some of Mother Nature’s most beautiful gifts. We have the most breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls, white-sandy beaches, crystal-clear rivers and a wide range of endemic species – many of which our millions of visitors travel from across the globe to experience each year. Therefore, as Minister of Tourism, it has always been a priority to ensure that we put all the necessary measures in place to preserve and protect our environment for the continued existence and growth of the country’s tourism product.

My Ministry has taken a proactive role to guard and protect our natural heritage.. In fact, one of the tenets of the Tourism Master Plan is sustainable development – a key part of which is environmental sustainability. We work very closely with stakeholders, communities and governmental agencies such as the National Environment and Planning Agency to ensure that all our projects, such as the National Beach Development Programme, follow the relevant environmental guidelines.

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