BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has revealed that an important administrative change is being made to the definition of local tourist attractions to facilitate them being licensed whether or not they charge an entry fee. The move is expected to give more Jamaicans greater access to various attractions across the island.
Minister Bartlett announced yesterday (April 27) that “an attraction is to be defined in a manner that will remove the requirement for an entry fee to be charged. Some entities may continue to charge an entry fee based on their operations, but it will be optional. Therefore, more Jamaicans will be able to enter local attractions and for those without an entry fee persons will be encouraged to make a greater effort to patronize the products and services provided by those establishments to ensure it is a win-win situation.”
The new definition is to be incorporated into the Tourist Board Act, which governs the operations of such facilities.
The announcement comes as Mr Bartlett leads an island wide tour to engage stakeholders and which coincides with a series of town hall meetings hosted by the Ministry of Tourism to facilitate national consultation on the Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy (DAFS).
The tour moved along the South Coast this week and included stops at Lashings Beach Club, Lover’s Leap, Newell High School, the Lionel Densham Aerodrome and entailed the unveiling of interior streetscapes, which provide an augmented reality experience, in Black River, St Elizabeth.
Tourism partners also participated in a special meeting of the St Elizabeth Destination Assurance Council at the Bennett Catherine Hall in Black River. A town hall meeting was later held at the Breds Treasure Beach Sports Park to continue public consultations on the DAFS.
Even as he focused on the need for safety and security not just in tourism spaces but all over the country, Mr Bartlett reiterated his position that “it’s zero tolerance now for disorder and indiscipline.
” He said there should be no excuse for boorish behavior and giving in to threats of holding back votes. We as a country “must get to that point where our politics elevates us to a higher plane where order and respect, and regard for systems and laws, and morals and values are embraced.”
The Tourism Minister added that “unless we do that then the tourism industry, and any other industry that Jamaica will have will decline to naught.”
At the same time, however, he is also on a campaign to get more Jamaicans to invest in tourism and reap benefits from the booming industry. “Were moving to a new dimension in terms of the expansion and growth of tourism to create an economy in Jamaica that is going to be safe and solid and sound and offers an opportunity for good jobs, but great opportunities for entrepreneurship,” he said.
The Minister underscored that tourism now offered an opportunity for everyone to be able to tap into the wide and deep value chain “that embraces every element of human activity” and he told his audience, “in every element of your creative genius resides an opportunity for economic development.”
Mr Bartlett said for Jamaica to experience greater growth, tourism must move from the demand side of bringing the visitor in, to the supply side of “how we make the visitor happy and satisfied and spend every dollar that he brings with him. And in that whole process is the retention of the dollar in our own destination,” he stated.