Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica is positioning itself to meet the demands of the global tourism market over the next 10 years.
He told JIS News that estimates are for global tourism to grow to 1.8 billion international visitors by 2030, with earnings of US$2 trillion.
Some 40 million new jobs will be created, and one out of every nine workers in the world will be employed in a tourism-related field.
“Additionally, tourism will represent 11 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 15 per cent of trade, along with nearly 20 per cent of foreign direct investment (FDI),” Minister Bartlett said, noting that the industry is expected to grow twice the rate of global GDP at four to six per cent.
Jamaica, he said, is growing stopover arrivals by eight per cent, with earnings at 10 per cent, and projections are for even further increase over the next decade, resulting from the addition of more than 20,000 rooms and direct employment of 30,000 workers.
This level of growth, Bartlett noted, will have implications for further investment in roads, energy, water, telecommunications and myriad other services.
“We will also have to look strongly at housing and social infrastructure requirements to strengthen destination assurance and increase health security as well as improved public order,” he said.
“The expansion of our aviation infrastructure, as well as expanded airlift arrangements from new and emerging markets, must also be considered,” he added.
Bartlett further noted that on the supply side, agriculture, manufacturing and a wide range of experiential cultural assets, entertainment, health and wellness, as well as iconic man-made attractions, are all elements of a new consumption pattern that must emerge.
He said that focus will be placed on the building of human capital to respond to this new demand.
“We must not only build a new cadre of nimble and adaptive workers but also certify and classify the labour force to create a more professional workforce suitably remunerated with tenure and a social security based on an enlightened pension plan,” Minister Bartlett indicated.
He noted that small and medium-sized tourism enterprises must also be strengthened and empowered though training, affordable capital and appropriate access to technology for greater marketing connectivity.