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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Participatory management for Jamaican tourism

Dr. Wykeham McNeill

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday February 2, 2012 – Ordinary Jamaicans will get a say in the management of the tourism product of Jamaica.

This assurance has come from newly appointed Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who revealed this week that plans are afoot to re-establish local Resort Boards, to enhance governance within the sector.

In making the announcement, Minister McNeill stressed: “The boards will play a crucial role in ensuring that the management of the sector is more inclusive and participatory. We need to reestablish these boards to ensure that the voices of the people are heard. Once they are reinstated representatives of the resort boards will also be placed on the board of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.) to ensure they play a role in the development of the sector at that level as well.”

Dr McNeill said the process toward the restructuring and re-establishment of the Resort Boards had begun and he believed that, once revamped, these boards would help significantly in ensuring that the process of developing resort areas is managed properly.”

The minister explained that: “I have realized that there is a disconnect between the administrators within the sector and the people on the ground. Unfortunately the deactivation of the Resort Boards under the previous administration has removed that critical link. We are now holding discussions in a bid to re-engage these stakeholders by reestablishing these boards.”

“The reality is that the resort boards will help to more effectively address many of the concerns shared by community members in resort areas. They will also allow us to better prioritize when addressing the issues affecting the people. Too often we implement policies that don’t really impact the people, hence we need to know what the people want and the resort boards will better enable us to determine this,” he added.

McNeill, who discussed the issue with tourism partners during a Stakeholder Meeting in Negril recently added that “so far our stakeholders have welcomed the move, and those we met with in Negril have underscored that the Resort Boards will empower tourism partners to address issues affecting them at the local level. They also agree that the boards will go a long way in ensuring that we will be working closer as a team, moving forward, which is precisely how we intend to manage the sector.”

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