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Tourism minister urges collective effort to curb visitor harassment

Monday, January 15, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has called for a collective effort to curtail visitor harassment in order to safeguard the industry's gains and surpass the country's record-breaking outturns achieved in 2017.

“We made history in Jamaica when we welcomed 4.3 million visitors to the island (in 2017). The sector (also generated) approximately US$3 billion in earnings, representing an 11.2 per cent increase (over 2016).

“We cannot afford to reverse the gains we have made and continue to make. This is why it is so important to curb the vexing issue of visitor harassment so that our thriving tourism sector can experience further expansion,” the minister said.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony for a sensitisation workshop for parish judges at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on Saturday.

Bartlett said visitor harassment remains an issue for the tourism sector and, such, lauded the workshop's participants for their interest in being sensitized on the issue and how they can help to curb it.

He pointed out that the industry, having soared to levels “beyond our wildest imagination” in 2017, must be “protected at all costs”.

Bartlett said despite challenges with visitor harassment, recent surveys indicate that up to 60 per cent of tourists are “very satisfied” with the Jamaican experience, with 42 per cent being repeat visitors.

“Our intention is for those numbers to be higher…so we have no room for complacency. The visit should resonate so well with those who land on our soil that they will unhesitatingly give us an A plus rating consistently,” he emphasised.

Bartlett said, in this regard, industry stakeholders have a pivotal role to play in safeguarding the sector, adding that “we have to be very firm in our pledge to decrease incidents of harassment and, over time, see to its elimination”.


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