Jamaica’s drive towards professionalisation of its tourism industry is moving towards classifying certified workers for the purpose of improved remuneration.
The tourism ministry said that through the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation, 1300 workers have so far been certified as professionals in their respective disciplines.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett said that the next move is to classify the workers which will see them being graded according to classification.
The ministry said this was outlined by Bartlett at a long service awards for 78 employees of the Round Hill Hotel and Villas last night.
Noting that a lot of emphasis was being put on training, the tourism minister said the underlying factor behind all that was being done, was to put people at the centre because it was the people who made everything happen.
“You were the pioneers; you were the ones who caused Jamaica to be what it is today in terms of our tourism standing in the world and our stature as a major tourism destination,” he told the workers with records of service ranging from 10 to 45 years, at the 66-year-old hotel.
With the development of artificial intelligence globally and talk that the new tourism is going to be all about automation, Bartlett said that while robotics could help to do better and make it easier and more efficient “they cannot replace the people of tourism because tourism is about people”.
Regarding visitor arrivals, he reiterated that Jamaica was now having year-round tourism and with record numbers in succeeding years, arrivals should hit the four-million mark this year. He said last month a historical 250,000 tourists came to Jamaica, when in former years hotels, would have been closed and workers laid off.