Jamaica publishes tourism research

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association has applauded the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association for its lead in tourism research following the release of a new tourism research paper.

The document, Travel & Tourism as a Driver of Economic Development in Jamaica, was conducted by Oxford Economics and presented by Adam Sacks, president Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, at a news conference hosted by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

“Commissioning such a definitive examination of tourism’s contribution to the Jamaican economy will not only benefit those within the industry but also the country as a whole,” said Josef Forstmayr, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association president.

“Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association will be encouraging its other member countries to commission the same study for their own tourism industries and Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association is already in discussions with Tourism Economics to undertake the same research for the Caribbean as a region. This report dovetails perfectly with our ‘Tourism Is Key’ advocacy program and will drive our new campaign later this year.”

Economy and tourism linked

The 46-page report includes titles such as The Economic Role of Tourism in Jamaica, Tourism Incentives and Tax Reform, Marketing, and Challenges Facing Tourism in Jamaica, all of which are followed by a summary with recommendations.

Among the key findings and observations are that the overall Jamaican economy enjoys strong linkages with tourism, driving 15 per cent of all construction, 20 per cent of all manufacturing and 21 per cent of all agriculture/fishing. Seventy-one per cent of hotel and restaurant revenue remained on-island (debunking the myth of leakage offshore).

In 2012, read the report, Jamaica’s travel and tourism industry contributed JA$38 billion in tax revenue; 20.4 per cent of all government revenue. Tourism, it concluded, contributes 50 per cent of all Jamaican exports.

The report noted that the hotel sector has a relatively high tax burden as compared to regional metrics. The incentives offered to the industry have been an essential part of maintaining growth while they remain generally less generous than those offered across the Caribbean.

Summary findings of the report included that tourism was the core driver of the Jamaican economy; tourism has posted consistent growth, even with the rest of the region in decline; tourism was Jamaica’s No. 1 industry in absolute size and that tourism was Jamaica’s No. 1 export sector.

Tourism, it said, was more than just hotels, restaurants, tour operators, retailers, and other entities providing services directly to visitors.

The supply chain for tourism in Jamaica was more robust than in many Caribbean islands. Furthermore, the incomes earned by the 106,024 Jamaican residents employed in the tourism industry were largely spent within the local economy, generating additional economic activity, said the report.