Tue | Jun 28, 2022

Bartlett: Tourism a silver lining in tough economic climate

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2022 | 12:30 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer
From left: Councillor Andrew Bellamy, who represented Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams; Carla Seaga, widow of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga; Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett; Gabrielle Seaga, daughter of the late former prime minister; and Minion Anders
From left: Councillor Andrew Bellamy, who represented Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams; Carla Seaga, widow of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga; Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett; Gabrielle Seaga, daughter of the late former prime minister; and Minion Anderson-Wright, deputy chair of Devon House, celebrate the grand opening of the Most Hon Edward Seaga Suite and the re-launching of the Devon Duppy Rum at Devon House in St Andrew yesterday.

Jamaica’s vibrant tourism sector is critical to lifting the country out of any potential economic pitfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and any hiccups in the global supply chain which led to disruptions in manufacturing and others sectors, says Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

He said that despite the economic storm clouds, tourism is well poised to put Jamaica back on the path to economic recovery.

“Don’t be disheartened and be distressed and feel despondent because there are dark and ominous-looking clouds in the economic firmament. There are bright lights beyond the clouds – silver linings – and tourism is a silver lining,” Bartlett said on Friday during the official opening of the Most Hon Edward Seaga Suite and the re-launching of the Devon Duppy Rum at Devon House in St Andrew.

“Jamaica’s tourism is at the heart of this recovery and the inflation challenges and macro-economic challenges are going to be mitigated and or offset by a full resumption, full recovery of the tourism industry because tourism has that instant convertibility capability of all the academic, industrial or economic activities. As the plane flies or the cruise ships come on the port, the dollar finds itself in the pocket of the ordinary man,” he continued.

Bartlett said that with tourism there is no period of gestation, growing or culturing and then reaping.

“The process is immediate and that is what the economy needs now. It needs immediate infusion of foreign exchange that will be able to get us the goods and services that we don’t produce here,” he said.

Jamaica is projected to receive well over 200,000 cruise ship visitors during this summer and Bartlett sought to assure tourists that cruise travel is still a safe and secure way to vacation, despite an incident in which a vessel crashed into Historic Falmouth, the port in the Trelawny capital, as it was being docked on Thursday.

No one was injured in the incident. While the ship did not suffer any significant damage, the mooring dolphin at the pier was damaged and is in need of repair. The incident will not affect the island’s shipping schedule, however, the authorities have said.

“Cruise is safe and secure and is a seamless way to enjoy your vacation,” Bartlett said.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com