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Jamaica’s Tourism Earnings Expected To Exceed US$4 Billion This Year



Jamaica’s tourism earnings are expected to be “significantly higher” this year, exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels, says Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

“We are looking now at earning in excess of US$4 billion this year, which would exceed 2019 figures by US$500 million to US$600 million,” he noted.

He said that visitor arrivals, including from cruise, are projected to be above three million, which is similar to 2019 figures.

“So, all in all, tourism is looking good,” the Minster said.

“We are making sure that the industry is [playing] its key growth role in the wider Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth arrangement,” he said, noting that priority is also being placed on ensuring that the sector is more inclusive, and provides for the well-being of Jamaica as a whole.

The Minister was speaking at a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) head office in Kingston.

Director of Tourism, Donovan White, who also addressed the session, noted that visitors are staying longer in the destination, being more immersive and are spending more.

“In 2019, our average length of stay would have been somewhere around 6.9 nights. In 2022, we are just over eight nights per visitor,” said Mr. White, adding that the average daily rate in 2019 was approximately US $168 per person, per day while in 2022, the rate is US $180 per person, per day.

He noted that during the extended stay, visitors are going to more restaurants, bars, parties, events and are buying more craft and taking more tours.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism will observe Tourism Awareness Week from September 25 to October 1, under the theme: ‘Rethinking Tourism’.

A series of activities have been organised to include a church service and the virtual Edmund Bartlett lecture series on Sunday, September 25; the ‘Style Jamaica’ runway show on Monday, September 26; a tourism opportunities visionary symposium on Tuesday, September 27; a youth forum on Wednesday, September 28; a special virtual knowledge forum on Thursday, September 29; the official launch of the innovation-based tourism incubator on Friday, September 30; school speaking engagements from Monday, September 26 to Friday, September 30; a tourism stakeholder engagement activity and a youth poster competition.


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Minister Bartlett Underscores Tourism Strategy and Action Plan’s Importance



Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has emphasised the importance of Jamaica’s Tourism Strategy and Action Plan (TSAP) in generating the stakeholder capacity to respond to the industry’s new architecture.

The TSAP, being executed through a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is geared towards boosting socio-economic development and investment, building the local tourism industry’s resilience to climate change and reducing the sector’s contribution to climate change.

It also aims to diversify Jamaica’s inbound tourism and promote the industry’s knowledge-based and technology-enabled development.

Mr. Bartlett also highlighted the TSAP’s importance in making tourism more inclusive and more of an enabler of economic growth and development in Jamaica.

“So, the strategies have to look at not just the physical areas but it has to start with human capital. The most important element within our tourism realisation is with people. Jamaica’s wealth is not in minerals, as you know; but what we really have are our people, and our people are the wealth of this country,” the Minister said.

“And so, our strategy has to deal, very strongly, with building, training, building intellectual capacity, building innovative capacities, building creative capacities, [and] building a new sense of how people can convert knowledge into material goods and services which will have a value and a price,” Mr. Bartlett added.

He was speaking during the opening session of the Tourism Strategy and Action Plan Consultation Workshop for Kingston and St. Andrew, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (April 4).

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left), shares a light moment with General Manager, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Caribbean Country Department Group and Representative in Jamaica, Anton Edmunds, during the opening session of the Tourism Strategy and Action Plan Consultation Workshop for Kingston and St. Andrew, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (April 4).

Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett underscored the need to increase local production, which is critical in enabling Jamaica to retain a larger ratio of the tourist dollar.

“The consumption pattern of the visitor is three to five times that of the locals. Some people don’t understand why revenue to government has increased significantly without increasing/or new taxes being imposed. They don’t understand that what tourism has done is to increase the consumption pattern in Jamaica exponentially over the last two and a half years in particular, as we started from zero and grew to what is now 4.2 million visitors,” he stated.

“So, whose food are they eating? That is our job, to make sure that it is Jamaican food… our farmers must step up to the plate. The strategy in tourism must drive the linkages in the various areas, so as to stop the leakages from all the other areas,” Minister Bartlett added.

The workshop marks the final in a series of engagements aimed at highlighting relevant components of the Tourism Strategy and gathering as much input as possible from key stakeholders.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left), makes a point to Operations Lead Specialist, Tourism, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Olga Gomez-Garcia, during the opening session of the Tourism Strategy and Action Plan Consultation Workshop for Kingston and St. Andrew held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (April 4). Looking on is General Manager, IDB Caribbean Country Department Group and Representative in Jamaica, Anton Edmunds.


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Business Events

Hundreds of Buyer Companies and Delegates Expected at CHTA Travel Marketplace



More than 150 buyer companies and 1,000 delegates are expected to convene in Montego Bay for the 42nd staging of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace from May 20 to 23.

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday (March 14), at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in New Kingston, President, CHTA, Nicola Madden-Greig, said a special effort is being made to bring more new buyer delegates to participate in the event.

“We have expanded to target buyers from Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia,” said Mrs. Madden-Greig.

“We will also have for the first time a complete stand-alone MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) itinerary with 20 meeting planners attending the first ever CHTA Caribbean MICE exchange,” she added.

The CHTA President pointed out that the MICE market has “tremendous potential” for the region, with more than US$900 billion generated worldwide in 2023.

It is expected to double that revenue by 2032.

Mrs. Madden-Greig also indicated that 50 regional and international media representatives are expected on the island to engage with Caribbean delegates and “share the news of the richness and diversity of our region”.

The 42nd CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace will feature three components – the Business of Tourism (The Caribbean Travel Forum on May 20), the Marketing of Tourism (CHTA Travel Marketplace May 21-22) and the Community of Tourism (Responsible Tourism Day on May 23).

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that the CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace is “a great moment of anticipation”.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett,

“It is not an event in the context of a singular activity, but it is a great opportunity for us as a Caribbean people, not just to showcase the strength and power of our assets but also provide leadership with innovation,” he added.

The Minister said that he is excited about the various components of the CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

“The region is ready to take a new perspective on itself in this post-COVID era, to grow tourism to another level and the three key points that [Mrs. Madden-Greig] dealt with, tourism and business, tourism and marketing, but responsible tourism is perhaps at the heart of the innovation that we speak about,” said Minister Bartlett.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace affords tourism suppliers the opportunity to meet face to face with wholesalers from around the world selling Caribbean vacation travel.

The main objective is for suppliers and buyers to conduct negotiations that benefit the region.

Only CHTA members can attend the event.

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Jamaica Well Positioned to Capture Share of Ethnic Food Market



With the global ethnic food market expected to reach US$131.67 billion by 2030, Jamaica is well positioned to capture a share, thanks to the emergence of new trends at the HEART College of Hospitality Services (HCHS), at Runaway Bay in St. Ann.

This was noted by Managing Director of the HEART/NSTA Trust, Dr. Taneisha Ingleton, at the College’s Centre of Excellence Culinary Arts & Gastronomy Symposium and Open House, held on Wednesday, March 13.

To ensure that Jamaica is perfectly poised, Dr. Ingleton informed that the Trust has taken on the challenge of developing and implementing a Centre of Excellence in Culinary Arts and Gastronomy.

Its primary focus will be to develop, implement, and promulgate knowledge, best practices and skills in the art and science of preparing and serving food.

Referencing the 2023 report by Fortune Business Insights, Dr. Ingleton pointed out that persons, including future chefs, innovators and food enthusiasts, are being trained to tap into the market.

“We’re witnessing the birth of new trends at the HCHS. We’re witnessing new flavour profiles that will tantalise taste buds around the world and we are seeing incredible work happening in the research labs where local organic ingredients are being identified and celebrated,” she added.

The Managing Director further recognised the HCHS and the Cardiff Hotel and Spa, also at Runaway Bay, as two important pillars in Jamaica’s gastronomical and hotel experience.

“This college (HCHS) is the very best. I’ve done the analysis and I have not overanalysed. [It] is performing at the very highest level in the HEART/NSTA Trust [when we talk about] the quality of the training experience and the product that we continue to give to Jamaica,” she said.

“The team has been operating in purpose, and it is only when we operate in purpose that we get to a place like this and our fullest potential is activated,” Dr. Ingleton said.

As for the Cardiff Hotel and Spa, the Managing Director mentioned that its impact goes beyond just awards and certification.

“As a formidable diamond within HEART, the institution supplies over 1,000 graduates each year, with an impressive employment rate of 85 per cent in recent times,” she said.

Of importance, both the HCHS and the Cardiff Hotel have been placed ahead of many in the hospitality industry, having received the 2022 Green Global Gold Advanced Certification Award, given to hotels and resorts that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices and environmental responsibility.

This is in addition to receiving the Caribbean Sustainability Award for businesses in the Caribbean region that have made significant contributions to sustainable development in 2005.

“This is a testimony of [their] commitment to responsible tourism, so we are thinking big picture. We’ve moved beyond food and hotel experience to contributing to the global economy,” Dr. Ingleton pointed out.

As the Cardiff Hotel and Spa and the HCHS continue to represent true champions of sustainable tourism and excellence in hospitality, provide top-quality education, and contribute to Jamaica’s economic development in a changing culinary landscape, trainees were encouraged to draw on the inspiration of those who came before them.

“Let our dishes evoke memories, stir emotions, unite us and leave an indelible mark. Let Jamaican ingredients be our foundation. Let creativity be our brush [as we] paint the world with vibrant flavours of Jamaica, but most importantly, never forget the stories that these dishes tell and the cultural tapestry that comes with every bite,” Dr. Ingleton said.

By: SHERIKA HALL JIS, March 15, 2024

Photo JIS

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Businessuite News24

Minister Bartlett Endorses Spatial AI Technology for Advancing Tourism Stakeholder Development



Photo: Okoye Henry

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (centre), is joined by Executive Chairman, Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart (left), and President, EON Reality, Mats Johansson, as he interacts with Spatial AI technology at Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on Thursday (October 5). The occasion was the launch of the EON Reality and Sandals Corporate University (SCU) training and development partnership.

Spatial Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is poised to revolutionise training in Jamaica’s tourism industry through virtual and augmented reality platforms for enhancing the education and professional development of staff and stakeholders in the sector.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, endorsed the transformative potential of the technology while addressing the launch of the EON Reality and Sandals Corporate University (SCU) training and development partnership at Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on Thursday (October 5).

“We gather to celebrate the launch of the SCU and the EON Reality XR platform as a milestone innovation that has the potential to dramatically reshape the education and training landscape in the tourism sector and other industries,” Mr. Bartlett stated.

“This is because it focuses on the use of virtual augmented mixed and extended reality, and this will help to fundamentally transform the methods by which we acquire knowledge and exchange training,” he added.

The collaboration promises to impact Jamaica and the Caribbean on a wide scale, with the potential to target over 10,000 employees for upskilling according to the Minister.

Additionally, he said the interactive and immersive approach contributes to securing the future of tourism by equipping the workforce with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in an ever-evolving industry.

“In the current era, characterised by rapid technological changes, endeavours such as the SCU and EON partnership will guarantee Jamaica’s sustained position in tourism as a global leader in education and training,” Mr. Bartlett outlined.

“What we are doing in Jamaica is truly creating the space for leadership. The goal is not to merely establish a platform but, more importantly, it is to herald the advent of a new paradigm in education transformation,” he added.

SCU, as part of the Sandals Resorts International brand, holds an esteemed place in the hospitality sector.

Through the unique adult education programme offered by SCU, team members have access to comprehensive hospitality-specific training and academic qualifications.

The use of EON Reality’s innovative solutions across these diverse programmes demonstrates the versatility of the EON AI Assistant in facilitating learning and teaching across various subject areas.

Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, pointed out that learning has always been and will continue to be at the heart of what defines Sandals and its subsidiaries.

He said the brand is built on human interaction, noting that amidst all the changes, the core of their service remains “person to person, smile to smile”.

“So, my job has been to follow through on what started many, many years ago, to assemble the most extraordinary team of visionaries and find most extraordinary platforms to be able to execute on that dream,” Mr. Stewart explained.

“This [partnership] is going to help so many Caribbean nationals, hopefully starting here, but expanding right through the wider Caribbean and far beyond Sandals Resorts International, so [that] we can train our people and uplift them,” he added.

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S Hotel in Montego Bay Ranked as One of the Best Globally



Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Montego Bay based S Hotel’s ranking as one of the best hotels in the world speaks volume as to how brand Jamaica is being viewed in the international marketplace.

Speaking to JIS News following a function in St. James over the weekend (October 8), Mr. Bartlett said the fact that the ranking was coming from Conde Nast Traveler, the world’s foremost travel magazine, makes the honour even the more special.

“Conde Nast Traveler is the Forbes Magazine of the hospitality sector… . If they say you are a big deal, then it simply means you are top-tier stuff,” Mr. Bartlett said.

“Of note and equally significant is that Conde Nast Traveler also ranked the S Hotel as the number-one hotel in the Caribbean and Central America. This is huge and must be celebrated. This is a big win for the S Hotel and, by extension, Jamaica’s tourism product,” he added.

A Jamaican-owned, managed and staffed and a relative newcomer on the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, more popularly known as the Hip Strip, the S Hotel came in at number 16 on the magazine’s 2023 Best Hotels in the World Readers’ Choice Awards.

The New York City, United States-headquartered Readers’ Choice Awards, and which has been running for 36 years, had some 526,518 participants deciding on the hotel rankings, a list that was dominated by world-renowned brands such as the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Peninsula and Shangri-La resorts, among other international giants.

“It is an impressive ranking for a hotel that opened in 2019, a year before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. S Hotel is Jamaican in every sense and they are known to be very meticulous in their operations. It is good to see Jamaica’s higher-end resorts getting this attention – the emphasis on Jamaican culture, first-rate service and that family feeling is gaining a lot of traction. Kudos to the phenomenal team there for continually striving for perfection,” Mr. Bartlett said.

Conde Nast, in commenting on S Hotel’s high ranking amongst the world’s best said: “At S Hotel you get the laid-back vibe of a stay in Jamaica with a bit of South Beach, Florida glitz – they even line the deck of their sleek pool with some of the island’s famous white sand.

If that isn’t enough sand for your liking, the hotel also offers private access to idyllic Doctor’s Cave Beach and its gentle surf.

“Inside, the ocean-view rooms are big enough to pass for apartments in some big cities. And they lay a minimalist black and white colour scheme over a beachy aesthetic (lots of wicker furniture, including covering the bathtub) that will leave you feeling maximally relaxed. If it doesn’t, there’s always the Irie Baths and Spa, which has three underground plunge pools (hot, warm, and cold) that provide kinetic energy therapy and send you out feeling totally relaxed, in addition to the usual massages and skin treatment options,” Conde Nast added.

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