Tourism Minister — Competitive Advantage

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has highlighted the importance of providing not only superior quality service in the tourism sector but also authentic attractions.

He noted that for Jamaica to maintain its competitive edge in the global tourism marketplace, the country must provide visitors with a genuine and unique experience.

“The fact is Jamaica is competing with destinations globally for travel dollars. It is, therefore, critical that we establish a competitive advantage that sets us apart from them,” Mr. Bartlett said.

“This calls for us to provide our visitors with the kind of experiences, such as artisan villages, that will make them want to come back to Jamaica, again and again, …and also to recommend us to their family and friends,” he added.

The Minister also underscored the importance of the destination assurance councils in ensuring that the quality, standard and integrity of the tourism product are maintained.

He noted that the establishment of the councils in conjunction with the visitor safety and security program “are essential to the seamless, successful and rapid development of the sector”.

“Now, more than ever, the success or failure of a tourist destination depends heavily on being able to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors. Therefore, providing high-quality tourism experiences, which incorporate the principles of safety and security, is becoming an overriding objective of tourist destinations,” Minister Bartlett said.

He contended that “if our visitors don’t feel free to move around and enjoy the beauty of Jamaica as freely as they want, then they will simply go somewhere else, resulting in a decline in arrivals. In turn, this will result in a decline in business for hotels, restaurants, taxi operators and our artisans and craft persons”.

“If we are to realize the true potential of tourism in terms of consistently increasing our visitor arrivals and providing benefits to Jamaicans, we have to stay on top of our game and continue to do what is right. That’s how we will get more ships…that’s how we will have more stopover visitors…that’s how we will have people wanting to come back again… and again,” he added.

Marcia Wright, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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