Prime Minister Bruce Golding this evening officially declared open the two day Caribbean Marketplace at the new Montego Bay Convention Centre welcoming the participants whom he said were the indispensible partners in the tourism enterprise that means so much to the Caribbean islands.
He said that despite the challenges during the recession period, tourism buyers had not abandoned the region and this is the quality of the measure of the partnership that the Caribbean enjoys.
“We value that partnership and we want to make that partnership even stronger. This is a real marketplace and like any marketplace we have buyers and sellers. I want to welcome these buyers especially because without you there would be no market or need for a marketplace”, he said.
Mr. Golding said that despite the many natural assets of the region, it’s beautiful white sand beaches, year long summer season, hotels, attractions, its people and the role culture played in developing the tourism product, it is the buyers that clinch the deals. “That partnership has been especially vital to us over the last few years as we have sought to navigate our way through the tempestuous recession that we have had to face.’, he said.
Jamaica in particular has done remarkably well, Mr. Golding noted. He heaped praises on Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett and his team for the co-operation he has been able to build within the industry and the powerful team that he has led so well. ‘Despite the global recession, we have improved for each of the last three years showing a 4% growth in stopover arrivals over the last 3 years. We did now allow the recession to slow us down and we want to thank our partners who have worked with us in enabling us to record that achievement’, Mr. Golding said.
In his remarks, Minister of Tourism Ed Bartlett recalled that last year was a good year for tourism in Jamaica with 4.7% increase over the previous year which also saw growth increases for the two previous years. ‘That has been achieved because of you our partners… you our buyers, …you our suppliers because you have seen our product, loved our service, extolled our brand and made this destination top of mind in the markets of the world so that we have been able to grow’. He welcomed the thousands in attendance including nine tourism Ministerial colleagues from the region and announced proudly that Jamaica’s tourism/advertising which is now on 3D.