[Kingston, Jamaica] – Jamaica’s tourism industry has brought back more than 50,000 workers in the last six months, showing its capacity for resilience and its ability to bounce back from crises.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, made the announcement yesterday (July 22) at the 7th staging of the ‘Christmas in July’ trade show at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston. The annual initiative encourages the purchase of authentic local products by stakeholders in the tourism sector. In addition to corporate Jamaica looking for gifts for clients and staff.
“Also, in the last seven months, we have brought in nearly 700,000 visitors (stopovers). Plus, by the end of August, we are projected to reach a million visitors and passengers coming into Jamaica. As a result, will bring somewhere in the region of US$1.5 billion into the local economy. No other industry could do that in seven months. However, the tourism industry has,” Minister Bartlett told the audience of diplomats, tourism stakeholders and representatives from corporate Jamaica.
Discussing building capacity for local suppliers, Minister Bartlett said: “As we recover, we need to recover together and recover stronger. We need to recoup much of the losses we had before the pandemic. Especially, because before the pandemic we had a leakage situation of US dollars from the industry of some 60 cents. We had reached the level of 40 cents retention.”
The tourism minister said Jamaica must move beyond 40 cents to a 50 cents retention rate, noting that “the pandemic has given us this opportunity because we are starting from ground zero so we can recover together.”
He said suppliers, manufacturers, farmers and producers of cultural products will have the chance to develop together as the industry returns. “The demand would be a fraction of what it was in 2019 when we had 4.3 million visitors, when the demand required a level of production that the country couldn’t afford to have. We didn’t have the capacity. The good news is that we can grow capacity with this present level of recovery. So that more of the goods that the industry needs can be sourced locally. Sourced from our manufacturers, our farmers and our suppliers,” he explained.
Christmas in July
Minister Bartlett noted that Christmas in July is part of that response as it provides the opportunity for more of our local producers to showcase their output.
This year, some 150 local producers of authentic Jamaican gift and souvenir items displayed their products. Displayed to corporate entities and various industry players at the annual trade show. All products on display had to be made with materials sourced locally. Plus, proven to be at least 70% locally manufactured or assembled, highlighting strong Jamaican cultural influences and themes.
Activities for this year’s virtual staging also included a “Style Jamaica Pop Up Fashion Show”. A show which featured jewellery, bags and accessories made by local artisans.
Christmas in July is a collaborative effort of the Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and its partners: the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Manufacturers‘ and Exporters Association (JMEA), the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).