The Jamaica Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeil, spoke at the official launch of the JET/TEF “Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica” Public Education Campaign today. ETN is publishing a full transcript of his address:
Our tourism industry has an enviable record of success. Year after year, it provides thousands of jobs and earns valuable foreign exchange that contributes significantly to economic growth and social development. This is not merely a happy accident but the result of deliberate and well thought out policies, strategies and plans implemented by successive administrations. Of course, our tourism product enters the highly sophisticated global market with the competitive advantage of outstanding physical beauty, a vibrant history, culture and people…the latter often credited with being our best asset.
Paradoxically, tourism which is so beneficial, if not managed with vigilance, can threaten the very factors that attract visitors to our island. This is why we treat as a matter of priority, environmental management, and most relevant to this event, the mitigation of potential damage to the environment.
We must maintain a delicate balance in these two critical areas – with due care and timely interventions when necessary – to ensure that the industry is sustainable.
Let us be clear – the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment takes a special interest in these matters not merely to ensure the sustainability of the industry but equally to protect and preserve our environment for ourselves as a people. One of the tenets of the Tourism Master Plan is sustainable development – a key part of which is environmental sustainability. We play an active and vigilant role in environmental protection and preservation in partnership with governmental and non-governmental agencies, stakeholders and communities.
Accordingly, between 2012 and the end of this year, the Tourism Enhancement Fund will have expended nearly $500 million on environmental initiatives. These projects are carried out in collaboration with a number of Ministries and entities as well as with non-governmental and community organizations, such as the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET).
The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment also works closely with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
Through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, (TEF), the Ministry is providing financing for the development and implementation of a holistic plan for the protection of the tourism product.