Kingston, Jamaica – Following a productive courtesy call between the Ministry of Tourism and World Bank representatives on Tuesday (January 16), Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has reported steady strides regarding the Ministry’s Multi-Dimensional Impact Assessment Study, which will evaluate the economic impact as well as other implications of adding 20,000 new hotel rooms over the next 10 years.
The meeting, led by World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Lilia Burunciuc, saw the team providing insights into their ongoing study titled “Future of Tourism in the Caribbean.” This study aims to empower regional markets to enhance competitiveness, improve connectivity, and overcome barriers to tourism growth.
Expressing optimism about the Ministry’s progress on its research targets, Minister Bartlett said, “We are well advanced with getting the consultants on board; we’ve sent out requests for proposals, we’ve had responses, and the team will shortly be evaluating the responses to determine who the consultants will be to begin this project.” The procurement process for the study closes on January 25.
The World Bank team expressed keen interest in contributing to environmental and sustainability analyses for the study. They commended Jamaica for its robust data collection efforts, significantly aiding their research.
Minister Bartlett noted, “This critical assessment is being undertaken to make sure that this expansion is inclusive and that more and more of the benefits and revenue of the industry stay in our country.”
He further explained the expected impact, adding, “We expect over 3 million stopover visitors, which will result in a one-to-one visitor-to-citizen ratio. This means that the flow-through effect of tourism as an economic activity will now be felt by the average Jamaican.”
The tourism minister stressed the importance of supplying the demand that tourism brings, which includes building the capacity to produce more agricultural goods, more manufacturing goods, provide more services, and create more unique experiences for visitors. He underscored that the study aims to enable stakeholders to understand the resources required to make these changes happen.
Minister Bartlett concluded, “When we bring 20,000 new rooms to Jamaica, what will it mean? That is the basis of the Multi-Dimensional Impact Assessment.”
The World Bank’s “Future of Tourism in the Caribbean” study, initiated in response to COVID-19, recognizes tourism as the main driver of the economic future of the Caribbean. Jamaica’s Multi-Dimensional Impact Assessment Study aligns with this vision, assessing the sector’s carrying capacity, required skillsets, labour market arrangements, and the overall impact on the country’s economy.