People remain at the core of tourism’s recovery and future growth, says Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, Hon Edmund Bartlett. Speaking at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA’s) Travel Marketplace in Puerto Rico yesterday, Minister Bartlett underscored that there can be no recovery without tourism workers.

“The pandemic has brought with it its own set of disruptions and the retention of staff is one such disruption. Globally, we have seen a shift where tourism workers have left the industry for more lucrative and flexible opportunities.

This shift points to the gap in the labor market arrangements and the renumeration of our workers. We need to fix this gap because there is no real recovery without our workers who are at the heart of the industry,” said Minister Bartlett.

Minister Bartlett was speaking on public private partnership panel at the CHTA Travel Marketplace in Puerto Rico. The other panelists included Minister of Tourism and Transport, Cayman Islands, Hon. Kenneth Bryan; Minister of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, St. Lucia, Hon Ernest Hilaire; Chairman, Sandals Resort International and President, Sandals Foundation, Adam Stewart; and CEO Discover Puerto Rico, Brad Dean.

“Tourism workers have also complained about tenure, mobility and portability which highlights the need to professionalize the industry. To do this, the building of our human capital through training and certification will be critical to enable workers to demand more and retain the highest levels of skill sets,” added Minister Bartlett.

Jamaica’s response has been the establishment of the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation, which as the training arm of the Ministry of Tourism, is set to transform the labor market arrangements within the tourism sector by producing a highly skilled workforce to meet the growing demands of the industry.

After a one-year hiatus, the CHTA has returned to an in-person event for its 40th Caribbean Travel Marketplace being held in Puerto Rico from October 3-5, 2022.

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. JTB offices are also located in Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Tokyo and Paris.

In 2021, the JTB was declared ‘World’s Leading Cruise Destination,’ ‘World’s Leading Family Destination’ and ‘World’s Leading Wedding Destination’ for the second consecutive year by the World Travel Awards, which also named it the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board’ for the 14th consecutive year; and the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Destination’ for the 16th consecutive year; as well as the ‘Caribbean’s Best Nature Destination’ and the ‘Caribbean’s Best Adventure Tourism Destination.’ In addition, Jamaica was awarded four gold 2021 Travvy Awards, including ‘Best Destination, Caribbean/Bahamas,’ ‘Best Culinary Destination –Caribbean,’ Best Travel Agent Academy Program,’; as well as a TravelAge West WAVE award for ‘International Tourism Board Providing the Best Travel Advisor Support’ for a record-setting 10th time. In 2020, the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) named Jamaica the 2020 ‘Destination of the Year for Sustainable Tourism’. In 2019, TripAdvisor® ranked Jamaica as the #1 Caribbean Destination and #14 Best Destination in the World. Jamaica is home to some of the world’s best accommodations, attractions and service providers that continue to receive prominent global recognition.