Jamaica News: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Ministry is in discussions with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) and a United Kingdom (UK)-based entity for the development of a communications framework for the operations of the proposed Global Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management.
Mr. Bartlett was speaking at a recent media briefing at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston.
He said an effective communications framework is pivotal to the Centre’s operations, which include assessing, forecasting, mitigating and managing risks related to tourism resilience and crisis management within the Caribbean and globally.
Noting that effective communication remains a major challenge among tourism stakeholders worldwide, Mr. Bartlett noted, for example, that there is a level of “geographical ignorance” regarding the Caribbean, and many persons outside of the region are unfamiliar with its composition.
This, the Minister said, was apparent following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 when, “I was getting calls… from persons all over [the world] commiserating with me because they thought Jamaica [had been devastated by] Irma [as] in their minds, the Caribbean was Jamaica”.
Additionally, he said persons had difficulty distinguishing Barbados and Bermuda from the island of Barbuda, which was impacted by Irma.
“So, when the hurricane hit Barbuda [and Antigua, the Government and people] of Barbados and Bermuda were at pains to clarify that they were not affected,” Mr. Bartlett said.
Similarly, he noted that some persons were unable to make the distinction between hurricane-hit Dominica and the Dominican Republic.
Against this background, Mr. Bartlett, contended that the Centre will have a significant role to play in providing timely, on-point information, particularly where there is need for quick recovery in the aftermath of disasters, which will be pivotal to creating stability.
“So communication… is going to be a big item for crisis management. It’s not just [about being] able to disseminate information, but to do it in a certain way… that is relevant to and appropriate for the region from which the information is coming… so that we all can get maximum benefits from our efforts. So, the potential of this centre will be enormous,” the Minister added.
The Centre and a virtual Observatory, development of which is being spearheaded by Mr. Bartlett, were among several key recommendations emerging from last November’s United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Global Conference in Montego Bay.
They are intended to effectively address issues that currently or could potentially impact tourism globally, including climate change, epidemics and pandemics, cybercrime, political instability and terrorism. This will be achieved through research and development, advocacy and communication, programme/project design and management, and training and capacity-building.
The Observatory, to be housed in the Centre, aims to support policymakers and businesses in developing better strategies for a more competitive global tourism sector.
Board appointments are being finalised for the Centre, which is slated to be launched in January 2019.
The facility will be housed at the University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus.
Source: JIS News