Montego Bay, Jamaica, December 16, 2016 – Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says Jamaica has recorded more than US$2 billion in earnings from tourism, so far, this year.
Addressing a breakfast event to launch the 2016/17 winter tourist season at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on Wednesday (December 14), Minister Bartlett said the money was earned from the spending of more than 3 million visitors to the island. “Last year, 3.7 million of them came here and spent US$2.56 billion. We expect by the end of this year to be closing in on four million visitors and we expect to surpass the earnings (from last year) by a significant percentage. Right now, we’re running at 5.9 per cent and we could very well get to six per cent on the earnings of last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Bartlett announced that the Tourism Service Excellence Programme (TSEP), which recognises and rewards outstanding workers in the sector, will return next year. The awards ceremony, held in association with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), will be staged on March 4 at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay.
Minister Bartlett said TSEP, which has been revamped, forms part of a strategic marketing effort to highlight Jamaica’s outstanding service standards. He noted that the prominent position that Jamaica holds in the international marketplace, and the numerous awards that the country has won, are due to the hard work and dedication of the tourism workers. “We want to ensure that our high service standard never falls, but, instead, want to see it improve. This is why we are focusing on recognizing and rewarding our top service providers,” he noted. TSEP was first staged in 2008.