Prime Minister Andrew Holness is calling for more coordination between governments and private tourism partners in the Americas to better plan and manage crises affecting the sector and protect workers.
Speaking yesterday at the 4th Summit of the CEOs of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, Holness noted that Jamaica saw an immediate downturn in tourism in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but noted that the government has taken a very proactive approach to mitigation.
“We have engaged this sector and put in place a program to ensure that we can support employees in the tourism sector. So, even though the number of visitors has dropped dramatically, in some cases to zero, we have still been able to ease the burden on our tourism workers,” said the Jamaican Prime Minister.
Holness said: “Moving forward, a stronger approach [is needed] in terms of having a plan to ensure the sustainability of the industry in terms of human resource management, in terms of public health and, moreover, to deal with any other form of crisis that may arise.”
He said collaboration is needed to set standards and work towards a common set of rules and regulations to make it “easier and more seamless for our tourism partners to function in our space”, noting that governments are in a better position in terms of governance. and coordinating regional efforts to ensure good industry support.
Prime Minister Holness, speaking on “How tourism can boost economic recovery,” said that in order for countries to protect the value of tourism, they need to develop policies that encourage investors to diversify their offerings.
He noted that Jamaica is expanding its sun, sea and sand offerings by providing higher value products and making greater use of local resources, in particular by showcasing local culture and engaging people more in tourism.
He said these efforts will improve and add value to tourism in the country.
Tourism generates approximately 2.8 million jobs in the Caribbean, representing approximately 15.2 percent of employment in the region.
IV CEO Summit was held as part of the Summit of the Americas, which is attended by leaders from North, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.
The Summit and its stakeholder forums promote cooperation for inclusive economic growth and prosperity across the region based on shared respect for democracy, fundamental freedoms, the dignity of work and free enterprise.
Follow Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a WhatsApp message at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.