The Ministry of Tourism, its public bodies and tourism partners, including the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), will be highlighting the important role tourism plays in fostering inclusion and economic growth as they observe Tourism Awareness Week (TAW) 2021.
This year’s observance will incorporate World Tourism Day, which is marked annually on September 27 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and destinations across the globe. The day will be observed under the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth,” which will also serve as the theme for TAW 2021, slated to run from September 26 to October 2.
It will be a celebration of tourism’s ability to drive inclusive development while generating opportunities for many millions across the globe.
According to the UNWTO: “This is an opportunity to look beyond tourism statistics and acknowledge that, behind every number, there is a person…To celebrate tourism’s unique ability to ensure that nobody is left behind as the world begins to open up again and look to the future.”
The week will commence with a virtual church service on Sunday, September 26. Throughout the week, the Ministry and its public bodies will utilize the print and electronic media to highlight several of their initiatives that foster inclusive growth. Other activities include, a virtual expo on September 27; virtual concert on October 1; and a youth video competition.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett notes the importance of the theme, and shared that his Ministry’s goal, “has always been to create a tourism product where the vast benefits are distributed fairly across society.” He underscored that: “Tourism is as much about the farmer, craft vendor, entertainer, and transportation provider as it is about the hotelier, restauranteur, and attraction operator.”
“Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries and is a major source of income for many countries. In Jamaica, tourism is our bread and butter. Tourism is the engine of our economy. It creates jobs, attracts foreign investment, drives the development of critical infrastructure, and promotes trade across multiple sectors. More importantly, it promotes inclusive economic growth and social mobility,” he added.
Though the growth of the sector has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hampered global economic activities, Bartlett has stressed that sustainability and inclusivity are crucial to the recovery process.
“The silver lining is that the COVID-19 crisis has provided the opportunity for us to reimagine and rebuild this resilient industry to better achieve this mandate. Sustainability and inclusivity are integral to the recovery process. Therefore, as we seize the opportunities in the crisis, we are implementing strategic measures to rebuild a product that is safe, equitable and generates economic opportunities for average Jamaicans,” he said.