As Jamaica’s Tourism Booms, 45,000 Skilled Workers are Needed

MONTEGO BAY, JamaicaThe tourism industry in Jamaica is gearing up for significant growth in the coming years, with plans to build 20,000 new rooms. This expansion will require at least 45,000 new workers over the next five to 10 years, according to the Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

Speaking at the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation’s (JCTI) Recognition and Awards Ceremony, on Wednesday December 13, Minister Bartlett emphasized the need for training and preparation to meet the increasing demand. He highlighted the importance of developing Jamaica’s human capacity to provide the highest level of service and create the best possible experience for visitors.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett addresses the audience at the inaugural Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation Recognition and Awards Ceremony
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett addresses the audience at the inaugural Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation Recognition and Awards Ceremony at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

“We are building 20,000 new rooms, and we have already created 2,000 of that… but how many workers will we need? We are going to need at least 45,000 more workers, and they are going to have to come from our people, who must be trained,” Minister Bartlett stated.

Minister Bartlett further emphasized the potential of tourism growth, stating, “I have a new KPI; we are going after 8 million visitors to Jamaica and 10 billion USD in earnings.” With projections indicating an additional 1 billion tourists traveling worldwide in the next 10-15 years, Jamaica aims to attract a significant share of these travellers.

Bartlett mentioned several developments in different parishes, including St. Ann, Trelawny, and St. James that will contribute to Jamaica’s accommodation capacity and job creation.

Training Efforts To Meet Demands

To meet this demand, the JCTI, along with local educational institutions, will play a crucial role in preparing individuals for employment in the tourism industry. “We must have trained workers who can give the highest level of service and enable tourists to have the best experience possible. Then we can earn at the highest level because they pay for quality service.”

The JCTI Recognition and Awards Ceremony acknowledged the achievements of the JCTI’s partners, dedicated tutors, participating hotels, and graduates who obtained certification from October 2022 to November 2023.

During this period, over 3,500 individuals received certification, and an additional 4,500 registered for certification programs, resulting in an impressive 89% pass rate. The JCTI, which falls under the Tourism Enhancement Fund, focuses on human capital development, using a learner-centred and industry-led approach to enhance Jamaica’s competitiveness as an international destination.

With its focus on training and human capital development, Jamaica is setting itself up for a thriving tourism industry that offers exceptional experiences to visitors while bringing significant benefits to the country’s economy and people.