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Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (second left) examined a touchless hand sanitiser that will be part of the 500 tourism protective kits that will be distributed to SMTEs. Sharing in the moment are (from left) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Jennifer Griffith, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund Dr Carey Wallace, and Director of the Tourism Linkages Network Carolyn McDonald-Riley. The kits will include infrared thermometers, touchless hand sanitisers and touchless garbage bins. (Photo contributed by Ministry of Tourism)

Gov’t of Jamaica allocate JM$2 billion for SMEs in tourism sector

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (second left) examined a touchless hand sanitiser that will be part of the 500 tourism protective kits that will be distributed to SMTEs. Sharing in the moment are (from left) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Jennifer Griffith, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund Dr Carey Wallace, and Director of the Tourism Linkages Network Carolyn McDonald-Riley. The kits will include infrared thermometers, touchless hand sanitisers and touchless garbage bins. (Photo contributed by Ministry of Tourism)

The Government of Jamaica has moved to assist small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs) to retool for and rebound from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

To this end, the island’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett announced at a press briefing last Friday, July 10, that the Government has allocated over JM$2 billion in funding for SMTEs. He noted that the Government received the assistance multilateral partners and financial institutions including Development Bank of Jamaica, World Bank, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, EXIM Bank and Jamaica National Group.

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (Photo: JIS)

“Our SMTEs have been severely displaced due to COVID-19 and have recorded economic fallout of an average of JM$2.5 million each. As part of our recovery efforts for the sector, they will play a significant role by stimulating economic activity and as such, this funding of over JM$2 billion… will assist them greatly to rebuild,” Bartlett stated during the event.

Consequent on the allocation, SMTEs can access a suite of loan facilities and grants ranging from a low as JM$5 million up to a maximum of JM$30 million.

The EXIM Bank of Jamaica assisted the Government in allocating JM$2 billion in loan financing and grant funding to Jamaica’s small and medium-sized tourism enterprises
(File photo)

In addition to the Government’s assistance, the World Bank-funded and Jamaica Social Investment Fund-administered REDI II programme has allocated JM$100 million for personal protective equipment, training, funding for monitoring officers, communication, manuals, technical capacity building and licensing for tourism and agriculture.

“These initiatives are also geared towards getting our small tourism enterprises formalised, licensed and COVID-19 compliant. Therefore, in addition to the loan offerings, TEF (Tourism Enhancement Fund) will be donating 500 tourism protective kits that include infrared thermometers, touchless hand sanitizers and touchless garbage bins. The total value of the initiative is JM$20.7 million,” Minister Bartlett revealed.