Jamaica is looking to grow investment in the tourism industry “beyond the development of hotel rooms,” according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
That means developing opportunities for more projects in technology, infrastructure and services, he said.
“The tourism industry is rapidly changing with the onset of new technologies which are changing the way we do business. To keep apace of these changes to be able to meet the growing demands of the industry, our investment focus should be on building the capacity of the suppliers in the industry who are the main drivers of tourism,” said Bartlett, who was speaking at the International Tourism and Investment Conference in London this week.
That means an emphasis on smaller and medium-sized businesses in the broader hospitality industry.
“Small tourism players, which I refer to as Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) are the backbone of the industry. It is through their creativity we have been able to tap into the passion points of our visitors whether through food or entertainment, to give authentic experiences to our visitors,” Bartlett said.
Through Jamaica’s Tourism Enhancement Fund, small businesses in Jamaica have access to a $7.2 million USD revolving loan programthat is administered through the EXIM Bank.
In total, since its inception, as at last month, September 2019, TEF has disbursed more than $631,0000 in loan funds to 367 borrowers.=
Building their capacity will build their ability to be even more creative to enhance our tourism offerings,” he said.