Global and local tourism stakeholders ended their three-day conference in Montego Bay claiming success, but already questions are swirling about its value to Jamaica and the true cost to taxpayers.
Dr. Wykeham McNeill, Opposition spokesman on Tourism, is questioning the cost and the number of delegates who attended one of global tourism's largest and most important events, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO) Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism.
Dr. McNiell claims that far fewer than the projected 1,000 overseas delegates attended the conference that concluded Wednesday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
According to the former tourism minister, just a mere 252 overseas delegates attended the global event that reportedly cost the government $125 million to stage.
However, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said more than 1,400 delegates attended the conference, describing it as the largest and most successful tourism event to take place in the Caribbean.
Bartlett said the delegates came from 60 countries and all issues were deliberated on and expertly discussed.