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Jamaica’s new Tourism Minister hits the ground running

KINGSTON, Jamaica’s – Jamaica’s new Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has begun his first full week on the job true to his promise with a punishing schedule of consultations with high level Industry players.

Over the past 48 hours Mr. Bartlett has held high level discussions Tourism heavyweights such as Shipping Association of Jamaica boss Hon. Noel Hylton, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association President Wayne Cummings, Senior Vice President/Marketing at Air Jamaica – Paul Pennicook, Hotelier John Issa and local investment partners in at least two major projects which have attracted international funding. This is in keeping with the three planks of his incumbency as outlined by Minister Bartlett immediately after taking his oath of office last Friday. These are Marketing, Product Development and Investment (local & international).

In his de-briefing sessions with senior technical staff late this evening, Minister Bartlett was very upbeat about the progress of the discussions so far. “As you would expect, while we found many areas of consonance in the discussions, there were also some areas where more work will be required to forge common positions. However, I am very encouraged that we all agree on the fact that Tourism is our best hope for prosperity in Jamaica because of the clear competitive advantage we enjoy worldwide.”

Repeating his mantra of ‘efficiency, professionalism and performance’ for the effective conduct of public business, Minister Bartlett enjoined his senior team to match strides with the private and public sector partners to maximize all opportunities for growth. “As I have mentioned before, we need to ensure that we enjoy sustainable growth, which includes, but is not limited to increases in visitor arrivals. After the sluggish fall we are expecting, following on a flat summer, I am now very bullish on the kind of winter we are likely to enjoy, based on the high levels of synergistic thinking that is now emerging out of my discussions with our key partners.”

The Minister was careful to point out the diversity on his consultation schedule to include craft vendors, artisans, micro, small and medium scale investors in the sector as well as community leaders and public sector facilitators and guardians of infrastructure such as roads and utilities.

The Tourism Minister heads to Florida Thursday, September 20 to meet with U.S.-based Cruise Shipping interests, Caribbean Private Sector Tourism interests (through the CHA) and the Miami-based staff of the Jamaica Tourist Board. He returns to the island ahead of the next sitting of Cabinet on Monday (24th), his maiden address as Minister to the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, and the observance of World Tourism Day on Thursday September 27.

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