Jamaica tourism officials have summoned all hands on deck for the Tourism Outlook Seminar on Feb. 11, to examine the way forward for the tourism industry in Jamaica.

This year’s event, to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall in Montego Bay, builds on the inaugural seminar in Kingston last year, when local and international stakeholders in the tourist industry discussed issues critical to Jamaica’s development and devised strategies to move the industry forward.

The issues to be addressed at this year's seminar relate to the impact of the economic crisis on the global industry, the status of the regional marketing strategy, developments in the cruise industry, challenges facing the hotel sector, airlift, emerging markets and Jamaica’s vision for the sustainability of the industry.

"This represents an opportunity where persons in the industry can come together to critically assess the state of tourism and collectively discuss how the industry can move forward," said Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.

With tourism as the main source of foreign exchange for Jamaica’s economy, Bartlett said significant strides have been made as government seeks to ensure tourism is treated as an export industry and accorded its rightful place in the national accounts.

Director of Tourism John Lynch said that the prospect for Jamaica tourism is encouraging, despite the challenges facing tourism worldwide. He is pushing for an aggressive advertising strategy supported by strong public relations.

"The event affords a greater level of cooperation and consensus among the various players, which is vital to the continued and sustained growth of Jamaica’s industry," Lynch said.

Speakers include Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; David Jessop, executive director of the Caribbean Council in the U.K.; Hugh Riley, interim secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; Bill Maloney, ASTA's executive vice president and chief operating officer; Wolfgang Arlt, professor of tourism management and director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute; Adam Cesarano, vice president of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association; and Taleb Rifai, secretary general ad interim of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

For more information, visit www.visitjamaica.com/tourismseminar or call (876) 908-5242/5.

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