(JIS) Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the country is on course to exceed the 3.7 million tourists, who visited the island last year, bringing earnings of $2.5 billion.
Since the start of the year, Jamaica has welcomed 2.1 million visitors, and $1.3 billion has been earned from the industry.
The Tourism Minister was addressing scores of farmers and patrons attending the second day of the 2016 Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon, on Sunday (July 31).
He told his audience that over the next five years, some five million visitors are expected on the island.
Jamaica is expected to earn US$5 billion from this growth in arrivals, with direct employment increasing from 89,000 to 125,000, and 300,000 in indirect employment.
The Ministry is, therefore, encouraging the farmers to increase production to supply the food needs of the industry.
“We believe that the production of farm supplies for the tourism industry in Jamaica is essential to making the economy of this country grow,” he said
“When I tour the booths, I see that we can produce, and produce in ample quantity,” he added.
He noted that farmers can obtain loans of up to $25 million, at five per cent interest over five years through the EXIM Bank.