It is an additional privilege to serve as Leader of Government Business and Minister of Tourism. I thank the Most Honorable Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, for placing his confidence in me in both capacities in the House of Representatives.
I also thank you, Madam Speaker, the Clerk, and the committed staff of this Honorable House for the valuable role you play in so ably steering our nation’s parliamentary affairs.
I would like to thank my colleague ministers, their staff and public bodies, especially those whose work directly impacts the tourism sector. We all work together in the best interest of Jamaica, even if we view things from different perspectives.
I also extend special gratitude to the Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism, Senator Janice Allen, for her conscientious engagement with the task assigned to her.
Permit me also to say thanks to my Permanent Secretary, Ms. Jennifer Griffith, and the dedicated team within the Ministry and its public bodies, as well as the chairpersons of the respective public bodies, their board members and their executive directors.
To my personal staff, both in Kingston and St. James, I wish to acknowledge your contribution and thank you for your assistance.
Posebna zahvala mora biti rezervirana za moje birače u East Central St. Jamesu, na vašoj podršci tijekom godina. I dalje ću vam biti najbolji predstavnik i nastaviti neumorno raditi na tome da East Central St. James bude uzorna izborna jedinica.
A key project that we have worked on is our soon to be fully completed housing development – the Edmund Ridge Estates in Rhyne Park. Applications for Phase 1 opened in January, with 155 units for sale. Madam Speaker, the project falls under the Ministry of Tourism’s $1 billion Resort Squatter Settlements Upgrade Program in partnership with the Housing Agency of Jamaica. We will also be regulating 535 households in the Grange Pen community of St. James through land titling and infrastructure upgrades.
This hard work could not have been accomplished without the help of my staff at every level in the constituency, and I commend them for their zeal and commitment. For Ed’s Tulip’s, I thank you for all that you do in making lives better on a daily basis.
As we navigate these challenging times, caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge our tourism partners and resilient stakeholders.
Posebno želim zahvaliti predsjedniku hotelsko-turističkog udruženja Jamaica, gospodinu Cliftonu Readeru i njegovom izvršnom direktoru, na suradnji i podršci koju su pružili tijekom prošle godine. Također priznajem rad koji je obavio njihov neposredni prošli predsjednik, gospodin Omar Robinson.
Posljednje i nimalo najmanje važno, zahvaljujem svojoj najbližoj obitelji: moja draga supruga od 47 godina Carmen, moj sin i unuci - zalijepili su se za mene i debeli i drago mi je što i dalje uživamo u sreći, zajedništvu i dobrom zdravlju .
Madam Speaker, we are fully cognizant of the fact that we are pressed for time and as such, I intend to go through this critical presentation with detail and precision.
1. Highlight the realities we continue to face because of the COVID-19 pandemic
2. Outline the measures we have implemented to seamlessly tackle the pandemic
3. Detaljno objasniti glavne političke inicijative koje jesu i nastavit će ubirati uspjeh sa ili bez COVID-19, i
4. Give a quick synopsis of the way forward
Madam Speaker, the first official reported case of the COVID-19 virus was in early December 2019. Since then it has had a devastating impact on economies across the globe – with travel and tourism being among the hardest hit industries. Madam Speaker, it has undoubtedly been the worst economic and social crisis of our lifetime. Governments across the world faced tough choices on how to balance livelihoods and lives, which required unprecedented action and global collaboration.
Prema brojkama u netom objavljenom Svjetskom vijeću za putovanja i turizam (WTTC) 2020. Izvještaj o ekonomskom utjecaju (EIR):
- Sektor putovanja i turizma pretrpio je golem gubitak od gotovo 4.5 bilijuna američkih dolara u 2020. godini, pri čemu je doprinos BDP-u opao za nevjerojatnih 49.1 posto u odnosu na 2019 .; u odnosu na 3.7 posto smanjenja BDP-a globalne ekonomije u 2020.
- In 2019, Madam Speaker, the Travel & Tourism sector contributed 10.4 percent to global GDP; a share which decreased to 5.5 percent in 2020.
- U 2020. godini izgubljeno je više od 62 milijuna radnih mjesta, što predstavlja pad od 18.5 posto, što ostavlja samo 272 milijuna zaposlenih širom industrije u usporedbi s 334 milijuna u 2019. Gospođo govornice, sektor je doživio šokantan gubitak u međunarodnim putničkim troškovima, što je za 69.4 posto manje u odnosu na prethodnu godinu.
- Meanwhile, domestic travel spending fell by 45 percent, a lower decline due to some internal travel in a number of countries.
The Caribbean region was also significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, primarily because we are statistically one of the most tourism-dependent regions in the world.
Data received from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) indicates that tourist arrivals to the region in 2020 declined to 11 million. Madam Speaker, this is a decline of 65.5 percent when compared to the record 32 million tourist arrivals in the previous year.
Madam Speaker, last year hotel occupancy across Caribbean destinations averaged between 10 to 30 percent. Unfortunately, many hotels and tourist attractions are at risk of falling into insolvency and receivership.
However, what is particularly interesting is that despite the obvious decline, our arrivals still proved to be better than the world average of 73.9 percent decline, during the same period. Also, when the borders in the region began to reopen in June, the average length of stay in 2020 equaled that recorded in 2019 – seven days.
CTO predviđa da će ove godine Karibi nastaviti jačati naprijed, predviđajući porast dolazaka od 20 posto, uz sličan porast izdataka za posjetitelje u odnosu na 2020. Međutim, povjerenje međunarodnih putovanja možda se neće znatno povećati do ovog ljeta.
Madam Speaker, a true rebound to pre-COVID-19 figures can be achieved if we work together to contain the virus and undertake a combined course of action to market our destinations as safe, seamless and secure.