Kingston, Jamaica – Newly appointed Minister of Tourism and Entertainment for Jamaica, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, and Minister of State, the Hon. Damion Crawford today met with members of the Executive of The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), as the Ministry kick-started a series of meetings with key stakeholders and industry partners.
Minister McNeill explained that “the purpose of today’s meeting was to ensure that we get off on the right footing as we assume leadership of this all-important sector. We think it is vital to meet with all our partners and stakeholders in the industry. We intend to have an inclusive and open Ministry, driven by consultation and dialogue.” He added that “this is in-keeping with the drive to ensure that this Government is characterized by inclusiveness, and a willingness to engage our partners.”
Dr. McNeill outlined that “the meeting was also attended by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Jennifer Griffith, Director General Ms. Carrole Guntley and Director of Tourism Mr. John Lynch. We examined several issues which are of concern to the JHTA, such as the upkeep of resort areas, cruise tourism, tax reform, marketing, and strengthening the linkages between tourism and other sectors.”
The Minister added that “today’s meeting was excellent and I was heartened by the friendly mood which was really an affirmation of the close relationship I have with the JHTA. Having discussed several of the key issues we are now going to move forward together as we seek to tackle them and develop our industry.”
While expressing satisfaction with the outcome of today’s meeting President of the JHTA, Mrs. Evelyn Smith said “our association was very pleased to know that the Minister could meet with us so quickly after assuming office. It was a very positive meeting in terms of outlining the concerns that the industry has, areas that we see that will foster growth, and matters that we need to work on in a spirit of collaboration. We have a few issues that we will be examining in greater detail with the Minister. We were assured of the level of consultation that we will have and we look forward to hosting the Minister in our various chapters as well.”
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill (centre) makes a point to Mrs. Evelyn Smith (left), President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association during a meeting with the Executive of the association at the Tourism Centre in New Kingston on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, as Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Damion Crawford (right) looks on.
Dr. McNeill revealed that “having met with the JHTA the next move will be to meet with the other stakeholders in both the tourism and entertainment sectors in the coming weeks. These meetings will give us a greater appreciation of the issues and challenges affecting them and how we are going to move forward together to address them.”