The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association holds a highly respected position at all levels of government and is recognized as one of the leading associations of its kind in the Caribbean. Founded on November 1, 1961 the JHTA’s major objective was to give greater prominence to the tourism thereby contributing to the development of the island’s economy. This was particularly critical at the time, as plans were underway for Jamaica gaining its independence. Another significant factor, which gave rise to the formation of the JHTA, was the fact that trade unionism was being introduced to the tourism industry. The creation of an association could therefore act effectively as an umbrella for its members.

In formulating the name for the Association two names were identified, Jamaica Hotel Association as opposed to Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association. The latter was chosen on the basis that it would encompass all the non-governmental interests, which were relevant to tourism, rather than focusing solely on the needs of the hotels.