KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday January 17, 2018 – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has called for a collective effort to curtail visitor harassment to safeguard the industry’s gains and surpass the country’s record-breaking out-turns achieved in 2017.
He said visitor harassment remains an issue for the tourism sector.
“We made history in Jamaica when we welcomed 4.3 million visitors to the island [in 2017]. The sector [generated] approximately US$3 billion in earnings, representing an 11.2 per cent increase,” Bartlett said.
“We cannot afford to reverse the gains we have made and continue to make. This is why it is so important to curb the vexing issue of visitor harassment, so that our thriving tourism sector can experience further expansion.”
Bartlett pointed out that the industry, having soared to levels “beyond our wildest imagination” last year, must be “protected at all costs”.
Despite challenges with visitor harassment, however, recent surveys indicated that up to 60 per cent of tourists were “very satisfied” with the Jamaican experience. Forty-two per cent of those were repeat visitors.
“Our intention is for those numbers to be higher…so we have no room for complacency. The visit should resonate so well with those who land on our soil that they will unhesitatingly give us an A-plus rating consistently,” Bartlett emphasized.
He said that in that regard, industry stakeholders have a pivotal role to play in safeguarding the sector, adding that “we have to be very firm in our pledge to decrease incidents of harassment and, over time, see to its elimination”.