Jamaica studying economic impact of tourism

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday May 12, 2011 – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has signed a US$222,000 contract with the United Kingdom-based Nathan EME Limited to carry out an economic impact study on tourism in the island.

The Tourism Ministry said the findings of the study will contribute significantly to improving the quality of information available for strategic planning and policy development and will also help local producers of goods and services to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the industry.

By doing so, it said, more tourism dollars would stay in the local economy.

“One of the things we want to do is to streamline tourism and put it on a platform where it can be recognized for its value and contribution and it can be factored in the national planning as well as the distribution of national resources for its own development and enablement,” Minister Bartlett said.

Chairman of the Tourism Task Force Don Wehby described the study – which will be used by his group to accurately determine the aggregate demand for local goods and services created by the tourism sector – as a “game changer” since it would unearth critical information that will redound to the benefit of the people and the economy.

“I strongly believe that if this strategy is in place and we have the real information, then capital will follow opportunities and that’s what the private sector is about,” he said.

“The solution to growth in the Jamaican economy is that we must have an export-led strategy to grow our economy and I will go further to say that we need to consider our tourism sector very seriously in terms of reform and policies as a part of the export sector to really get the benefits of the tourism industry.”

The Economic Impact Study on Tourism is expected to be completed in seven months. 

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