LOS ANGELES, CA – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has called for greater coordination among governments and private-sector tourism partners across the Americas, to better plan for and manage crises impacting the sector and protect workers.
Speaking at the IV CEO Summit of the Americas here, he noted that in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica, there was an immediate fall-off in tourism, but noted that the Government took a very proactive approach to cushion the effects.
“We engaged the sector and we put in place a program to ensure that we could support employees in the tourism sector. So even though visitor arrivals fell dramatically, in some instances to zero, we still managed to cushion our tourism workers,” he pointed out.
“Going forward, a stronger approach [is needed] in terms of having a plan to ensure the resilience of the industry from a human resource management point of view, from a public health point of view, and, indeed, to treat with any other form of crisis that may emerge.”
He said there must be cooperation in setting standards and working towards a uniform set of rules and regulations to make it easier and seamless for “our partners in tourism to function in our space”, noting that governments are at a better place in terms of managing and coordinating regional efforts in ensuring that the industry is well supported.
Prime Minister Holness, who spoke on ‘How Tourism Can Boost Economic Recovery’, said that for countries to protect the value of tourism, they need to develop policies that will incentivize investors to seek to diversify their offerings.
He noted that Jamaica is adding to its sun, sea and sand offerings by providing higher-value products and making greater use of locally generated inputs, in particular displaying local culture and involving the people more in tourism.
He said these efforts will improve and increase the value of tourism to the country.
Tourism generates approximately 2.8 million jobs in the Caribbean, which is approximately 15.2 percent of employment in the region.
The IV CEO Summit was held as part of the Summit of the Americas, which brings together leaders from the countries of North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean.
The Summit, and its stakeholder forums, promote cooperation towards region-wide, inclusive economic growth and prosperity based on a shared respect for democracy, fundamental freedoms, the dignity of labor, and free enterprise.