By F. Martin
TTC Service.- In the Caribbean, tourism has found a crucial partner: local agriculture.
This relationship between two very important sectors of the economy of the region has just been mentioned by the Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council in Jamaica, Adam Stewart.
Stewart, cited by Caribbean 360 digital publication, is calling on hoteliers and other tourism interests, to invest in the local agriculture sector, noting that this is a surefire way of enhancing the country’s economic development.
“For too long, we have been ignoring the obvious linkage between two of Jamaica’s most important sectors – agriculture and tourism – and the benefits to be had in getting them to work in sync with each other”, he says last week.
The specialist added that he “encouraging all of corporate Jamaica, all of the other hotel brands, locally and foreign-owned, to pay attention to the farmers”.
He even explained that farmers have a role to play in the growth that the industry is experiencing today. Their success is Jamaica’s success, which is the industry’s success,” he argues.
Stewart, also Executive Officer (CEO) of Sandals Resorts International revealed that Sandals has made upfront purchase of over $3 million worth of Irish potato seeds for local farmers, which equates to 1,300 bags, capable of planting 40 to 50 acres. The provision is expected to yield 700,000 pounds of potatoes to supply the Sandals chain.
The objective is to expand the programme, so that farmers will be the sole providers of Irish potatoes to the entire Sandals group, which comprise 11 resorts in Jamaica.
in recent years more tourism scholars worldwide have recognized the linkages between tourism and agriculture.
Experts are focused primarily on hotel food procurement patterns. Studies about the subject reveal a relatively high level of demand among tourists for foods for which there is potential to produce in the region.
Contrary to popular perceptions, Americans, for example, do not demand significantly more home country food than do tourists from other nations. One international study concludes that tourist food consumption and preferences do not represent a major obstacle to promoting future tourism and agriculture linkages.
Today a large proportion of the food for tourist consumption in the Caribbean is imported.