Kenyan President confirmed as Tourism Resilience Centre honorary co-chairThursday, August 08, 2019
KINGSTON, Jamaica — President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has accepted Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett's invitation to be Honorary Co-Chair (representing Africa) of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCM).
According to the ministry, President Kenyatta joins the ranks of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, former President of Malta, as GTRCM honorary co-chairs.
The announcement was made yesterday by Kenya's Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, at a press briefing hosted at the offices of the Jamaica Tourist Board, New Kingston.
Kenya's Tourism Minister was in Jamaica as a member of a Kenyan delegation, headed by President Kenyatta, on a three-day State visit, the ministry noted.
The announcement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of the two countries on Monday to broaden cooperation in tourism.
The ministry pointed out that the promotion of safe, ethical and sustainable tourism is among the many areas listed in the framework for cooperation; collaboration on addressing risk related to tourism resilience and crisis management, through research and development, policy advocacy and communication management, and training and capacity building; and the establishment of a satellite centre of the GTRCM in Kenya.
“We are excited that a new frontier beckons us and that is the African frontier,” said Bartlett.
Noting that Jamaica has focussed largely on the United States and Europe for its visitors, he said Africa offered great opportunity as a source market. “Africa is the new development centre of the world; it is where the new middle class is and the capacity to travel is there. The desire to come to Jamaica is very strong,” he said.
“We see an urgent call for greater interaction and connectivity between the people of Kenya and Jamaica that can be fulfilled through tourism and this memorandum of understanding will go a far way in enhancing the opportunity for interaction,” Bartlett added.
Endorsing the GTRCM, Minister Balala said, “We are here today to support your vision and ideals of establishing a Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre. We in Kenya are committed to support this.”
He said Kenya pledged to work with Jamaica, the University of the West Indies and the University of Nairobi to create strategies to counter crises when they happen. Noting that crises can take place anytime and anywhere, he said, “We have the capacity now from lessons learned before on how to counter them.”