KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has credited Jamaica’s Tourism Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development with providing guidance for the development of the industry, its current success and ability to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth.
He was addressing a six-person tourism delegation from Belize yesterday (June 23) that is being hosted by his Ministry to assist that country with further development of its tourism industry. The weeklong visit is an initiative of the Interregional Cooperation in Tourism.
“Because of how Jamaica has been positioned, there is now a great demand for the island as a vacation destination, with measurable growth in both stop over and cruise arrivals as well as investment by both international and local investors,” the Minister stated.
Head of the delegation, Belize’s Chief Tourism Officer, Abil Castaneda, explained that his country is a crossroads with regard to its tourism development.
“We need inputs on how to structure our tourism sector to move forward. Over the course of this week we hope to discuss institutional challenges and how it affects policy and framework in the long run,” he stated.
“Our hope is that the exchange of knowledge and ideas will help to build and strengthen my country’s tourism industry,” he stated.
The delegation will hold consultations with the Ministry, its agencies and stakeholders – the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF); and the Jamaica Tourist Board. Their itinerary also includes meetings with senior staff of Jamaica Trade and Invest (JAMPRO); the Jamaica Business Development Centre, (JBDC); the Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA), and the Self-Start Fund. The team will also be hosted by the Passport and Citizenship Agency on a site visit to the Sangster International Airport where they will observe visitor facilitation systems at international points of entry.
Belize, which has a relatively new formal tourism sector compared to Jamaica. Located on the Eastern Coast of Central America, the country is 22,800 square kilometres with a population of 340,844. More than 1.2 million persons visited Belize in 2014.
The delegation’s mission to Jamaica was sponsored by the Inter–American Development Bank (IADB).