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«Productive Development Policies in Jamaica Mónica Panadeiros Warren Benfield Inter-American Development Bank Department of Research and Chief ...»

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Recognizing that the key to improving the competitive position of the Jamaican product is greater diversification, the plan emphasises the forging of stronger linkages between tourism and other productive sectors, greater community involvement, showcasing of Jamaica’s culture and heritage, and events-led promotion. It is considered that a sustainable market position must be based on Jamaica’s heritage—natural, cultural, historic, and built.

The need to develop niche products and increase the competitive edge relative to other destinations in the region comes from the fact that even though Jamaica appears to be an efficient exporter of travel services to the world, it is not as efficient as some of its Caribbean neighbors.

Between 1995 and 2001, with travel services data available, Jamaica recorded a Revealed Comparative Advantage Index that placed it 18th out of 139 countries; however, 11 of those with a higher specialization are Caribbean countries (Jensen and Vignoles, 2005).

It is the first time that one of the main objectives of any tourism plan is to allow local communities to play a major role in defining, developing, and managing the tourism experience.

This is so that they are able to take ownership of the industry and therefore demonstrate some level of commitment towards helping the government enhance the visitor experience, on which the success of the industry depends. In this way, the plan intends to transform current perceptions of tourism as an exclusive industry that benefits the few to one that is perceived as being more inclusive. 27 The Master Plan requires that all agencies concerned with tourism coordinate their activities with Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) efforts in promoting the country abroad; Jamaica Vacations, in opening gateways and ensuring sufficient air capacity; Jamaica Reservations Tourism in Jamaica does not seem to generate a positive attitude among its population as in other tourismintensive countries. An explanation suggested for this attitude is based on the perception that the activities are vestiges of the social traditions of the plantation economy. The origins of tourism in Jamaica in the 1890s are instructive. It was a by-product of the American banana trade driven by Lorenzo Baker's United Fruit Co. which operated some sixty steamers, ferried visitors between Jamaica and the United States, and built modern facilities for their guests in Jamaica. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Imperial Line of Elder, Dempster and Co., trading in bananas with the United Kingdom, also advertised vacations to Englishmen whom they brought in their ships to the Region. Many of these early visitors, especially those from the southern states of America, brought social and racial attitudes which were grafted onto those of existing colonial society. Even though in the last decades, tourism spread across the region, perceptions about its negative social consequences persisted then and even into the present. The lack of participation of local people as entrepreneurs or as employees who have real opportunities for career advancement without glass ceilings might not help to change this view.

Service, working under the JTB to serve as a bridge between the industry and sales channels in the target country; and Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), 28 the central agency mandated by the government to develop and improve the tourism product by coordinating and facilitating action between public and private interests. This would change the focus to one of supporting the new profile of the industry (develop heritage and community-based ventures).

Finally, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), a corporate body which, since 2005, has been receiving a small fee from tourists (US$10 from incoming airline passengers and US$2 from cruise passengers), assigns the collected money to implement the recommendations emanating from the Master Plan. According to the goals of this plan, the projects funded by TEF should fall within at least one of the following categories: heritage and health, resort enhancement, community tourism, sports and entertainment, and environmental management and culture.

The apparent coordination failures that the Master Plan is designed to address seem to arise from the perceived desirability of differentiating Jamaica from other similar destinations in the region (such as Belize), focusing on its culture and heritage, which would require greater involvement of local communities. 29 In fact, the Jamaican tourism product is being further stratified to develop niche markets along the lines of eco, heritage, faith-based, community, sports, wellness, and rural tourism.

In 2009, for example, as a way of tapping into the health and wellness market, the country’s first Health Tourism Facility will be built in Montego Bay. This is a part of the marketing campaign for 2009 where the Ministry plans to target faith-based travelers. Golf tourism is also part of this market, which affects many sectors of the hospitality industry. In the past decade, Jamaica has hosted many international tournaments, with the aim of penetrating this niche. Tremendous opportunities are continuously being identified for developing the sportsbased tourism concept. An outdoor multi-purpose sports facility in Trelawny has been built, and Sabina Park, which hosted the ICC World Cup Cricket 2007, has been undergoing a process of continuous upgrading. Moreover, a three-year cooperation agreement was recently signed by The board is composed of representatives from the public and private sectors, including representatives of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association.

In September 2001, the Jamaica Tourism Challenge Fund was established with the support of DFIDC. It aimed to stimulate the participation of local communities in the tourism sector. The Fund would provide grant funding to projects after been selected in a competitive and transparent manner. This Fund was closed at the end of 2003 because it did not attract the desire response. One of the reasons for the failure was that the private sector was largely unwilling to invest time to develop projects (Lord and Pegus, 2004).

JTB, Air Jamaica, and Cricket World Cup to promote Jamaica as a holiday and cricket destination.

“Spruce Up Jamaica, Nice Up Yuself” is a program with a bottom-up, participatory approach initiated by the Ministry of Tourism. The first phase of the project, which was six weeks in length, focused on beautifying the physical environment. The second phase has five major components, with special emphasis on, inter alia, the environment, the community, craft development, and the heritage link.

Another community-based initiative involves the creation of artisan villages, an activity which is expected to bring important benefits to tourism and provide sustainable linkages, as well as foster a greater appreciation of local artistry. The establishment of the Craft Development Institute (CDI), which will be an agency for research, training, manufacturing, and promotion of the traditional crafts of Jamaica, is aimed at including local players of the craft sector in a tourism-related activity. It is premised on the idea that the development of local players is important for the diversification of tourism.

In accordance with the Master Plan, and in order to increase the impact and presence of the industry, the JTB views tourism as an information-intensive sector and has begun to make effective use of the Web as a marketing tool. A visitor survey conducted in 2007found that the Internet is now the leading method by which visitors make reservations. Internet access is also one of the most important factors when choosing a destination to visit (JTB, 2007). According to these guidelines, the E-Powering Jamaica 2012 NICT Strategy (CITO, 2007) defines as a priority initiative the use of ICTs to gather and access relevant information on tourists’ requirements and needs in order to improve the tourism product.

The plan has prompted a number of investments and infrastructure developments.

Included in these are the upgrading of both international airports, the building of sewage systems in resort areas, the building of Highway 2000 (linking the south and north coast of the island), and the upgrading of the Whyndam Rose Hall, 30 and it has attracted Spanish investors, to name a few. The Port of Kingston, Montego Bay Cruise Shipping Port, and Port Antonio West Harbour Marina are in the process of being expanded and upgraded for accommodating the projected expansion of tourism. 31 Now the Rosehall Resort and Spa, a Hilton Resort.

Talks have been finalized on the upgrading of the Hip Strip in Montego Bay.

Through institutionalized public-private partnerships (PPP), the Jamaican government has been able to develop national goals and translate them into effective policy action. These initiatives aim to diversify the product by helping small and medium tourism enterprises improve their competitiveness. The 30-month program being undertaken by Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JTHA), the IDB, JTB, and TPDCo will provide marketing support and technical assistance to small hotels that need upgrading. Under the initiative, hotels with similar characteristics will be clustered and branded for marketing purposes.

There has been little evidence over the past decade to indicate that PPP is an essential determinant of tourism competitiveness. A study carried out by the World Tourism Organization Business Council (WTOBC) to ascertain the extent to which PPPs were perceived as relevant in stimulating tourism competitiveness by the global tourism market found that PPPs were most effective at improving destination image, protecting the environment, improving education and training, facilitating investment and financing, overcoming trade and investment barriers, and improving transport infrastructure and basic services (ECLAC, 2007).

The WTOBC study postulated that PPPs will have an impact on tourism competitiveness provided that investments, risks, and costs are shared by pooling resources, the public sector is sensitized by its partners to the need to supply or upgrade public goods, transaction costs are reduced, cluster competitiveness in regards to price, quality and delivery reliability is guaranteed, and inter-sectoral linkages are built. These conditions would increase the tourism multiplier and facilitate joint visioning, leadership and long-term planning (ECLAC, 2007).

The coordination of activities among different agencies is also evident in the labor market. It is anticipated that over the next two to three years, the tourism industry will require an additional 33,000 workers in the accommodation sub-sector due to several accommodation facilities which are expected to come on stream. As a result of this prediction, closer linkages will be made with the government of Jamaica and educational facilities such as Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART), the University of Technology (UTech), the University of the West Indies (UWI) and Northern Caribbean University (NCU). Additionally, the need for local mid- and upper-management level staff will be satisfied with the establishment of a School of Hospitality Training.

Despite the many strengths of the plan, a number of its initial targets were unmet. There was a 1.3 percent increase in stopover arrivals in 2007 (versus 5.5 percent targeted). Similarly, whereas the targeted growth of visitor expenditure is 8.4 percent per annum, only a 3.4 percent increase occurred in 2007. With the exception of growth in employment, the same trend was evident with the remaining targets. With less than two years to go, though very comprehensive, the Master Plan has fallen short in a number of areas. The development of heritage sites is well underway; however whether sufficient vigor and momentum can be generated is uncertain given the inevitable setback caused by the global financial crisis.

The plan represents a form of consensus on the way forward for the development of tourism in Jamaica without giving adequate consideration to production integration 32 or opportunities presented by regionalism or multilateralism. The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), when fully realized, will foster greater intra-regional tourism. Jamaica’s arrival figures are poised for growth. If commitments are going to be made at the regional and international level, they must be reflected in the country’s national policies. Providing costeffective and reliable air transportation to travelers poses a great challenge to the productivity of the tourist industry. Even now, CARICOM governments are still at loggerheads about creating a regional carrier.

Though the plan overstates the importance of creating linkages between the tourism industry and other sectors, and there is evidence of concrete linkages between tourism, manufacturing, and the agricultural sector, adequate emphasis has not been placed on directly minimizing leakages. 33 The literature indicates that the import leakage ratio can be as high as 70 percent (Singh and Jayawardena, 2005). By this is meant that out of every dollar spent by a tourist, only 30 cents goes towards the purchase of products and services produced locally.

Additionally, as indicated in a number of studies, if the tourism industry is perceived as an activity that mainly benefits foreigners in net terms, then the industry as a whole will be weakened (ECLAC, 2007). When compared to smaller islands such as Aruba, with a leakage of 41 percent in 1996 and a greater inability to meet the diverse needs of the tourism industry,

Production Integration is defined by Article 52 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas as having three aspects:

functional cooperation, which entails cooperation among economic enterprises in areas such as purchasing, marketing, and research and development; complementary production, which involves economic enterprises in more than one member state working together to produce and use required inputs in the production chain; and integrated regional production, which involves a single economic enterprise directly organizing production in more than one member state.

Leakages are the amount remaining after imports are purchased from the amount of tourist expenditure that remains locally after taxes, profits and wages are paid. Import leakages occur when local products are not up to a hotel’s standards or the country does not have a supplying industry.

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