Sun, Sand, Sea and Software

May 1, 2001

Jamaica wants to become the silicon island of the Caribbean. Tourism has spawned a vibrant services industry and the country hopes today's call center employees will be tomorrow's programmers.

Jamaica's best-known service industry is tourism. The country has a fine climate, beautiful scenery and excellent beaches. The service industry accounted for 60% of Jamaica's GDP in 2000 with tourism at the heart of the sector. "We are not even close to achieving our potential in the tourist industry," says Wykeham McNeill, deputy minister of tourism and sport. The tourism ministry has drawn up a 10-year master plan that envisages developing the island's north coast as a high-end destination. The south coast would become a low-impact cultural heritage zone to expand entertainment and tours available to the growing number of cruise ship visitors. "Services is the area that we have shown the greatest aptitude," says...

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