Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment
The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment recognizes the potential of the tourism sector to absorb more output especially from those sectors with which it is closely linked. Increased consumption of local goods and services by the sector can stimulate higher levels of output within the economy and thereby create even more jobs and generate more foreign exchange earnings for the economy.
One of the Ministry’s policy priorities is to strengthen tourism linkages with the manufacturing, agricultural and entertainment sectors. The mission of this initiative is to position the tourism sector to increase its consumption of goods and services that can be competitively sourced in Jamaica. This necessitates collaboration with several organizations, and as a result a Tourism Linkages Council has been established to provide general oversight and guidance on all matters related to the tourism linkages initiative and will monitor the progress of strategies to strengthen linkages between tourism and the main sectors of focus.
The Linkages Council
The Tourism Linkages Council will mainly comprise Permanent Secretaries from the Ministries of Agriculture & Fisheries, Industry, Investment & Commerce and Tourism & Entertainment as well as Presidents/Executive Directors of JAMPRO, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ).
The main functions of the Tourism Linkages Council are:I. Provide general oversight and guidance on the implementation of strategies consistent with the objectives of the Minister
The Linkages Hub is the operational unit housed within the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment. It will perform the day to day activities related to the programme and will serve as a mechanism for driving effective and efficient communication between the tourism, agricultural, manufacturing and entertainment sectors in order to facilitate business, and to co-ordinate programme activities to strengthen linkages. The Hub will be guided by the Council and will be supported by dedicated personnel from the main private and public sector entities that are integral to the initiative. These personnel will form the Technical Working Groups (TWGs).
The Council will oversee activities that will be undertaken by the Hub and the TWGs. These activities will be guided by the draft short- to medium-term Tourism Linkages Action Plan that was formulated based on the recommendations coming out of stakeholder consultations. This Action Plan provides a suitable point of reference that will be used to further shape the framework needed to create sustainable tourism linkages with the domestic economy.
Agro Tourism Farmers’ Market
As it pertains to the Agro Tourism Farmers’ Markets – the Tourism Enhancement Fund, TEF has approved $10 million for 7 markets in Negril. The concept is that Negril will be a prototype from which plans to replicate these markets in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios will be developed. The 7 months for the 7 markets will be from October 2013 – May 2014 with the upcoming Farmers’ Markets in October being the Grand launch. The Agro Tourism Farmers’ Markets are to replace the regular RADA farmers markets by moving it from just a market to an “experience” integrating the JHTA, JMA, JBDC, MTE as partners with RADA to not only bring buyers and sellers of agro-produce together but infuse manufactured goods, craft, entertainment, live demonstrations into a package that can be an attraction for tourists, locals as well as the regular market function.