Bartlett predicts spirited tourism summit

Bartlett predicts spirited tourism summit

Staff reporter

Sunday, July 29, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Several key international tourism stakeholders will convene at The University of the West Indies, Mona, on Thursday, September 13 to participate in a resilience summit, which will be an harbinger to the official launch to the highly anticipated Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre in January next year.

The announcement was made by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, who noted that the date was selected to commemorate the passages of hurricanes Irma and Maria, two of the most devastating weather systems to have affected the region.

“The centre is going to also provide an opportunity to be an umbrella institute for a number of localised crisis management and disruption discussions, and we are excited about getting it started. So the conference on the 13th will give us a good sense on who are with us,” Bartlett stated during a press conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on Friday.

“This summit forms part of my ministry's efforts to build resilience within the region and globally. Resilience building has become even more crucial in a world that is hyper connected and, as such, more susceptible to climate change, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, and cybercrime.”

He revealed that Prime Minister Andrew Holness will be speaking at the resilience summit, which will seek to assess existing and emerging disruptions related to tourism management globally; examine the risk of these disruptions to the global tourism product; and identify a synergetic, strategic and operational framework for mutual partnerships among major governmental, non-governmental and business entities to address as well as develop mitigation strategies for these global disruptions.

The conference will be held under the theme: 'Tourism Resilience through Global Synergies'.

The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre was one of the major outcomes of the Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism under the partnership of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank Group, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Bartlett, in driving home the need for the centre, recalled that for two hours Jamaica was oblivious to the danger of the Honduras tsunami alert after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in the Caribbean Sea earlier this year.

He noted that this will not be the case when the centre is up and running.

“I think that is the power of having a centre, which would have been able to trigger instantly a tsunami warning that would reach us; and not just us, but all the other countries that were in the Caribbean ring that were vulnerable and which could have been affected,” Bartlett contended.

“So we see the need for this kind of not just instant and real-time information to be available to us. Because you need to have the information so fast to be able to respond and respond well.”

He noted that so far there are commitments from a number of major universities “that are partnering with us”.

Already on board are the University of Bahamut in the UK, the University of Queensland in Australia, the Polytechnical University in China, George Washington University in the US, and The University of the West Indies, Mona, where the facility will be sited.

“These five universities will form the base of academia in this regard, but we will be expanding and a number of other universities we are talking to already including Harvard, which we feel we are very close to having an arrangement with,” Bartlett announced.

He also noted that the board of governors is being finalised for the centre, which enjoys a full buy-in from a number of key regional and international agencies.

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