80 percent of the value of tourism experiences worldwide are driven by small and medium-sized businesses.
But less than 20 percent of the returns go to that sector, according to Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
That’s why Bartlett is leading a new drive in Jamaica to help build resilience and increase the capacity of small tourism enterprises on the island.
“As we rebound and reimagine, we are bringing a new dynamism to the process, and we are trying to rebalance that anomaly,” Bartlett says. “We want [SME]s to get a larger share of the tourism dollar.”
Jamaica is doing that with three different pillars: international certification through the Jamaica Center of Tourism Innovation; financial support through businesses like the Jamaica National Bank and EXIM Bank; and marketing through the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism is also looking to develop an “innovation-based tourism incubator.”
“We are investing in ideas through the innovation incubator that we have established,” he said.
The idea is to “go and mine ideas and find young people all across Jamaica with ideas, because tourism is driven by ideas.”