Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has called on stakeholders in the sector to place greater focus on fulfilling their corporate social responsibility (CSR), to ensure that the positive impact of tourism is reaching all corners of the society.
Speaking at the 58th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James, on June 29, the Minister said that while tourism continues to record unprecedented economic growth through increased visitor arrivals and earnings, this yield “does not automatically translate into an improved standard of living for the country and its people”.
“We cannot measure tourism success solely by profits and record visitor arrivals. The sector’s true success lies in a broad-based initiative that drives economic growth and social well-being that benefit the Jamaican people. These programmes are essential to sustainable long-term development in the sector,” the Minister emphasised.
Mr. Bartlett further noted that tourism should be used as a tool to deal with issues of inequality and create a more inclusive sector with a more equitable distribution of wealth.
He highlighted that by embracing CSR, tourism players will help to further improve Jamaica’s gross domestic product (GDP), increase employment, and decrease the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio.
“Tourism can enable true prosperity and be a strong driver of community tourism. In addition, tourism can be a catalyst for peace and healthy human relations across the globe. By embracing and applying the underpinnings of CSR, we will enable sustainability within the tourism sector, while building a corporate culture that inures to inclusive growth and economic gains for both companies and for the people that work for them,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He noted that the Tourism Ministry, in collaboration with its agencies and partners, will continue its thrust to actively promote community-based tourism enterprises that foster sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the Minister lauded the JHTA, and encouraged the group to help drive higher levels of ethical responsibility in the workplace and take a stronger stand in contributing to the long-term success and flourishing of communities.
By: Nickieta Sterling