Kingston, Jamaica: October 11, 2011 – “The Island’s vibrant tourism industry continues to play a key role in ensuring that Jamaica achieves its objectives as stated in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO.” That’s the word from Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett who earlier this week addressed the Minister’s Round-Table meeting at the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO 19th General Assembly now underway in Gyeongju, South Korea.
Minister Bartlett told the meeting that “despite trying economic times, Jamaica has made significant strides toward achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. These include the achievement of the targeted reduction in malnutrition, achieving 90% net enrollment in primary schools; reversing malaria and tuberculosis; improved access to reproductive health services; affording 92% of the population with safe drinking water and basic sanitation, and remaining on track in the fight against HIV/AIDS and increasing access to Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.”
Minister Bartlett further stated that “the Ministry of Tourism is spearheading a number of activities in support of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. These include efforts which are well advanced in assisting small and medium sized business operators to benefit from the wealth that the industry brings to Jamaica.”
The Minister said “the Ministry is spearheading a number of activities that include encouraging local entrepreneurs to supply goods and services that the sector needs and in so doing reduce leakages. Likewise we are expanding the sector through the commissioning of new facilities including the cruise shipping Port in Falmouth, Trelawny. Through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) loans have also been made available to entrepreneurs who want to join the tourism value-chain. Loans are disbursed to qualified persons regardless of gender and status, thus ensuring that women have an equal opportunity to share in the wealth that is generated by tourism.”
Minister Bartlett also underscored that “we have addressed issues relating to human resource development through the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), as well as environmental protection which is being done in collaboration with National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) to ensure the development of tourism in a responsible and sustainable way.”
In stressing the Ministry’s efforts to fight HIV/AIDS Minister Bartlett said “because our business often creates the environment for the spread of the disease. My Ministry through TPDCo has just launched the tourism sector HIV media campaign aimed at promoting HIV awareness among tourism workers, eliminating stigma associated with the disease, and protecting our population at large.”
Minister Bartlett told the meeting that Jamaica remains committed to the work of the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics, the Sustainable Tourism Elimination of Poverty (ST-EP) programme, and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, as they work toward achieving the MDGs. He said “as a country Jamaica understands the development potential of tourism. We remain optimistic about the role this most important industry can and has been playing in the achievement of the MDGs, as we approach the target date of 2015.”