KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, shared Jamaica’s tourism perspective at a presentation made today.
At the Sectoral Debate Presentation on April 4, 2017, Minister Bartlett delivered a speech that covered the state of the Jamaica tourism industry.
The theme of the event was “Sustainable Tourism – A Catalyst for Job Creation and Inclusive Growth.”
Jamaica Tourism Industry from a Global perspective
Mr. Speaker, tourism is increasingly recognized the world over as a critical driver of strong economic growth and job creation and as a sector which has a broad and positive effect on the lives of billions globally.
Travel and Tourism generated 1 in 11 of the world’s jobs in 2016, translating to a total of 292 million jobs, as the sector grew by 3.3 percent, outpacing the global economy for the sixth year in a row, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Economic Impact Report 2017, conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics.
The report notes that Travel and Tourism generated US$7.6 trillion worldwide, which represents 10.2 percent of global GDP when the direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account.
Additionally, global visitor exports, which is money spent by foreign visitors, accounted for 6.6 percent of total world exports, and almost 30 percent of total services exported.
This stellar performance data speaks to the global economic impact of tourism and its ability to transform economies.
Jamaica Tourism Industry from a Caribbean Perspective
Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of the fact that the growing tourism industry represents the most important form of economic activity in the Caribbean today with earnings in excess of US$27 billion, providing jobs for one out of every five employed persons and attracting just over 30 million visitors annually.
Indeed, Mr. Speaker, we are the most tourism-dependent region in the world, recording on average 4.2 percent growth last year alone.
Tourism is the single largest earner of foreign exchange in 16 of the 28 countries in the Caribbean and also the sector receiving the most FDI.
The region has a higher proportion of total employment and percentage of GDP derived from tourism than any other region in the world and the industry accounts for 41 percent of all exports and services in the region as well as 31 percent of all Gross Domestic Product.
Jamaica Tourism Industry from a Local Perspective
Now, Mr. Speaker, tourism will be the biggest driver for economic growth and prosperity in Jamaica for years to come and it is absolutely imperative that you are made aware of the work that we have been doing over the last year in repositioning the sector to achieve higher growth rates and, more importantly, improved distribution of the benefits of tourism to each and every Jamaican and stronger linkages through the economic fabric of this beautiful island nation.
Our economic data indicate that the tourism sector has expanded by 36 percent over the last ten years when compared with total economic growth of 6 percent.
Tourism remains one of Jamaica’s few labour-intensive sectors and directly employs over 106,000 Jamaicans, while generating indirect jobs for another 250,000 Jamaicans (or one in every four Jamaicans) in linked sectors such as agriculture, the creative and cultural industries, manufacturing, transportation, finance and insurance, electricity, water, construction and other services.
The direct contribution of tourism to GDP is estimated at 8.4 percent while total contribution is estimated at a 27.2percent of GDP.
Tourism is also the single most important generator of foreign exchange for the Jamaican economy as it truly is the fastest way to transfer wealth from one country to another.