Kingston, Jamaica – The need to boost human capital development and build resilience in the tourism sector through more targeted investment, will be high on the agenda as the Ministry of Tourism, its public bodies and tourism partners, observe Tourism Awareness Week 2023 from September 24 – 30.
The week will be observed under the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) theme for World Tourism Day, September 27, “Tourism and Green Investments”. which seeks to underscore the need to invest in people, planet and prosperity.
In highlighting the relevance of this year’s theme, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said: “The theme is right on point as it recognises the urgent need for responsible tourism practices that prioritise the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants. As stewards of this beautiful Earth, it is our moral responsibility to safeguard its natural, economic and social resources for future generations. Our activities for Tourism Awareness Week (TAW) will reflect this timely theme.”
“Investment is no longer resigned to the blocks and steel of infrastructure. Investing in human capital, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship as well as the environment are equally important for the sustainable growth of travel and tourism,” he continued.
Minister Bartlett emphasised tourism’s role as a key driver of the national economy by contributing significantly to Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and foreign exchange earnings. However, while noting the sector’s phenomenal performance, the tourism minister also cautioned that “we should not lose sight of the importance of sustainable and responsible tourism practices, which can help protect our environment and enrich our local communities.”
Minister Bartlett highlighted that “recent Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) figures indicate that between January and August of 2023, Jamaica welcomed some 2.77 million visitors, a 32.6% increase over the corresponding period last year. This includes 1.97 million stopover visitors, up 19.7% and 801,042 cruise visitors, representing an increase of 81.06%, over the same period last year, with gross earnings of US$2.93 billion, which is a 21.8% increase in gross tourism dollars earned in just those eight months.”
Jamaica Leading in Post-Pandemic Recovery
With this in mind, Director of Tourism, Donovan White, echoed the tourism minister’s sentiments, saying, “Jamaica’s record-breaking performance reflects our commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism practices. We believe that by investing in these areas, we not only safeguard our beautiful destination but also ensure the long-term success and resilience of our tourism industry. As tourism leads Jamaica’s post-pandemic recovery, this year’s focus for Tourism Awareness Week could not be more appropriate.”
Thanksgiving Church Service
The week will begin with a Thanksgiving Church Service at the Montego Bay New Testament Church of God, St. James on Sunday, September 24. Tree planting and seedling handing-over exercises will be held in conjunction with Tourism Action Clubs at schools across the island, starting in Kingston at the Excelsior High School on Monday, September 25.
World Tourism Day
For World Tourism Day (September 27) a special Youth Forum will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. The forum seeks to offer youth a chance to actively participate in discussions about the future of the tourism industry. The program will encompass engaging presentations, exhibitions and live performances.
Minister Bartlett will join other global tourism leaders including officials from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in marking World Tourism Day 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he noted that, “Jamaica will be the toast of this year’s celebration as a model of resilience and people-oriented investments.”
Other activities include:
- Virtual Knowledge Forum on Tuesday, September 26
- School speaker series from Monday, September 25 to Friday, September 29
- Tourism Opportunities Visionary Symposium and follow-up workshops scheduled for Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29
- Roll-out of the Tourism Awareness Week 2023 Online Resource Guide.