Caribbean ministers’ summit to highlight tourism outlook seminarSaturday, October 29, 2016
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS)—A Summit of Caribbean Tourism Ministers will highlight this year’s staging of the Tourism Outlook Seminar slated for December 6 to 8 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The three-day event is being jointly hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), under the theme – ‘Tourism: Navigating Global Challenges for Continued Growth’.
Portfolio minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the summit will facilitate discussion among Caribbean ministers on a collaborative approach to generating increased tourism growth opportunities across the region.
He was speaking at the media launch of the seminar on October 27 at Devon House in St Andrew.
Bartlett said the summit’s staging comes against the background of data indicating that the Caribbean has the slowest rate of tourism growth in the world.
He noted that while the Caribbean and Latin America is the most tourism-dependent region globally, it lagged behind other areas, such as Asia, Africa and the Pacific, which had high growth rates.
In this regard, Bartlett said the summit will focus on how best countries can collectively transition from highly competitive strategies “that have not given us (adequate levels of) growth” to a new approach of “looking at the things we share... that we can do well together and do it better”.
Bartlett said among the key issues for discussion are harmonisation of policies to facilitate seamless regional airlift and aviation; measures to enhance visitor facilitation; review of visa stipulations; and addressing airspace pre-clearance arrangements and rationalisation to reduce costs to airlines.
“We in Jamaica have set our eyes on a five per cent growth target over the next five years to achieve five million visitor arrivals, earn US$5 billion, employ 125,000 people directly and in the process, expand our room count up to about 45,000,” he further outlined.
Bartlett said the summit and conference, which will feature discussion on other tourism-related matters will “allow us to explore, further, how we move towards achieving those outcomes”.
Tourism Director, Paul Pennicook, in his remarks, said the seminar will present an ideal opportunity for dialogue among tourism interests on a wide range of sector issues, with the expectation that decisions reached “would have benefited from the deliberations of a wide cross section of persons”.
Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), which is providing funding support, Godfrey Dyer, said the seminar provides a forum for the tourism ministry and its agencies to have “thought-provoking” interaction with a dynamic group of industry experts and leaders.
Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA) President, Omar Robinson, for his part, said the entity fully endorses this seminar “for the huge benefit it will bring for the entire industry”.
The Tourism Outlook Seminar, which was first staged in 2008, is expected to be attended by local, regional and international delegates.
It will feature presentations by representatives from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO); Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA); Sandals Resorts International; Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health, among others.
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