Minister Bartlett notes improved rates of employment as tourism makes comeback
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — During a recent “Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks” panel, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett revealed that some 70,000 tourism jobs have been recovered within the last year as the industry begins to bounce back from the disastrous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister referred to the latest Labour Force Survey only just recently released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), which indicated that unemployment was at 7.1 percent as of October 2021, and employment was up 6.6 percent year-over-year.
According to STATIN’s data, 76,600 more Jamaicans were employed in October 2021 as compared to October 2020.
Minister Bartlett said, “So, tourism continues to provide the jobs when we look at the fact that our recent employment survey indicated that we are now at 7.1 percent unemployment.
“We brought back some 70,000 jobs in the last year overall. Tourism’s contribution to that was significant too.”
Going into further details of the economic contribution tourism continues to make, he outlined that the industry has experienced three consecutive quarters of growth. While GDP figures have yet to be revealed, Bartlett pointed out that tourism stood at 10 percent of Jamaica’s GDP prior to COVID — although he placed the indirect contribution at closer to 30 percent.
More tourism jobs signal more tourism demand
Given the tremendous recovery of jobs and economic improvement in Jamaica’s tourism industry, Bartlett said the government is looking at ways to expand offerings, including involving other industries to help meet tourism’s demands.
This includes, he said, greater involvement of the diaspora, whom he noted are “always welcome to come home.”
“We have a diaspora with enormous wealth, experience, capabilities, talent, skill and connectivity with communities,” Bartlett noted.
“We need to be investing in capital formation and new enterprises in Jamaica so that Jamaica can build its capacity to respond to the demand that tourism brings.”
He added, “When we look at other services — such as energy, communication, financial, insurance, health and transportation — billions of dollars are spent on transfers of visitors from airports to hotels and attractions.
“Investment is also needed in attractions because tourism fulfils the passions of people, and they travel to do just that.”