Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has announced that over $J2 Billion in funding will be made available for Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs). The move, forms part of the government’s commitment to help these small tourism businesses retool and rebound amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding, which was championed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will be from multilateral partners and financial institutions such as the Development Bank of Jamaica, World Bank, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, EXIM Bank and Jamaica National Group.
Speaking at the press briefing on Friday July 10, 2020 where the announcement was made, Minister Bartlett said: “Our SMTEs have been severely displaced due to COVID-19 and have recorded economic fallout of an average of $J2.5 Million each. As part of our recovery efforts for the sector, they will play a significant role by stimulating economic activity and as such this funding of over $J2 Billion which is needed, will assist them greatly to rebuild.”
SMTEs will have access to a suite of loan facilities and grants ranging from a low as J$5 Million up to a maximum of $J30 Million.
The REDI II programme, funded by the World Bank and administered by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, will as part of the project’s COVID response, also allocate J$100 Million for Personal Protective Equipment, training, funding for monitoring officers, communication, manuals, technical capacity building and licensing for tourism and agriculture.
“These initiatives are also geared towards getting our small tourism enterprises formalized, licensed and COVID-19 compliant. Therefore, in addition to the loan offerings, TEF will be donating 500 tourism protective kits that include infrared thermometers, touchless hand sanitizers and touchless garbage bins. The total value of the initiative is $J20.7 Million,” added Minister Bartlett.