Tourism funding slashed
KINGSTON – The US$10 million in emergency funding approved by the Cabinet for the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) was slashed in half by the Ministry of Finance in a bid to meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) stipulations.
In June, the Cabinet approved the money to boost the JTB’s budget and to allow the agency to execute an integrated marketing and sales initiative aimed at restoring confidence in the island as a tourist destination in the aftermath of the West Kingston unrest.
However, the marketing arm of the Ministry of Tourism recently received a letter from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) stating that only US$5 million would be disbursed.
That is in stark contrast to the upbeat pronouncements of Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett in the aftermath of the Tivoli incursion.
At that time, Bartlett told the media that the government had asked the IMF to tweak the agreement so it could get extra money to deal with the Tivoli reconstruction and marketing efforts owing to an estimated fallout of US$350 million from the unrest.