Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Dr Carey Wallace has underscored the importance of developing Jamaica’s tourism industry as a means of creating wealth, providing jobs, and improving the quality of life for Jamaicans.

Wallace (pic), who was speaking at a devotional exercise at the Mannings School in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, said Jamaica’s true riches lie in its natural beauty and the warmth of its people. “Developing any nation means developing the key industries,” he said.

“We look at Guyana for example, they just discovered oil that can give their people a good quality of life. That is how industries work, developing the industry so that you can earn from it so it can provide jobs, provide opportunities, and put wealth into the country so that the people can live a good quality of life.

“But what is our oil, what is our industry? It is Tourism.” Wallace also noted that with its pristine white sand beaches, enchanting cascading waterfalls, and delectable gastronomy, Jamaica boasts a wealth of natural assets that have long captivated the hearts of tourists from around the world.

According to him, these assets are not only vital for the nation’s economic prosperity but also a source of immense national pride. “Our natural beauty is way beyond normal, it is outstanding, so our wealth is in our tourism assets,” he added.

The TEF executive director went on to implore students to recognise the role they can play in the development of Jamaica’s tourism industry while expressing the TEF’s commitment to equipping young Jamaicans with the skills and resources needed to excel in the tourism industry. “At the Tourism Enhancement Fund, every day we wake up and that’s what we work on, how can we make you more equipped, more skilled with more resources to shine in tourism,” he added.

Wallace shared his message ahead of a tree planting exercise to close out the Tourism Awareness Week (TAW) Speaker Series held in schools across Jamaica. The initiative is in keeping with the TAW theme: ‘Tourism and Green Investments: Investing in people, Planet and Prosperity.’

Some ten trees were planted on the Mannings school grounds by officials from the Ministry of Tourism and members of the school’s Tourism Action Club. The initiative ties in with the National Tree Planting Programme, which has as its target of planting three million trees in three years.