Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says that the warmth and hospitality of the Jamaican people, coupled with the iconic culture, are what set the country apart and give it a competitive advantage in the global tourism market.
Noting that the industry “is now seeing arrival figures that were once unthinkable”, he said that the uniqueness of the people “is why it is so easy to sell Jamaica to an international audience”.
“The truth is that tourism is about sun, sea and sand. However, above all of that, it is about people, and that is what we are selling. You have sun, sea and sand everywhere else, but tourists choose to come to Jamaica obviously because of the value-added of our people. That value-added is wrapped up in our culture,” he said.
Holness was addressing business interests and tourism stakeholders at a luncheon in honour of Sandals Resorts International Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, at the Sandals Montego Bay Hotel, St. James, on December 18.
Holness said it is important to note that like business, culture is never static, and tourism stakeholders need to continue to come up with ways to maintain their competitive advantage.
“While change happens organically, it also requires leadership. Just look at what is happening here at all the Sandals Resorts. What is clear is that this is a business that has strong and effective leadership,” he noted.
The Prime Minister, in the meantime, said that the Government has an important role to play in ensuring that the destination remains “safe, secure and seamless”, adding that “we are not just about building roads and greater infrastructure”.
“The Government is also about introducing social policy. This has to be done to improve our culture… to improve our civility as a people. I can tell you, though, that as a Government, we have been doing that. We recognize our own role in making the country safe for our citizens and our visitors,” he said.