Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica is proud to be associated with the conceptualising and launch of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, which will provide solutions to emerging or existing threats to tourism across the Caribbean region and globally.
Among these threats are climate change and natural disasters, cybercrime, pandemics, terrorism, war, population and the changing funding model.
“The overall goal of the centre will be to assess, plan for, forecast, mitigate, and manage risks related to tourism resilience and crisis management. This will be achieved through research and development; policy advocacy and communications management; programme/project design and management; training and capacity-building,” he noted.
The Prime Minister was addressing the official launch of the facility at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, on January 30.
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, to be housed at The University of the West Indies (UWI), is the brainchild of Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
Its primary aim is to assist global tourism destinations with destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally.
The Prime Minister said that for the Caribbean region, where tourism is the primary economic activity of most countries, the support provided by the centre will be critical.
“The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world with the sector being the single largest generator of foreign exchange and employment in 16 of the 28 countries in the region,” he noted.
For Jamaica alone, the data indicates that over the last 10 years, tourism has grown by 36 per cent when compared with total economic growth of six per cent.
The Prime Minister said that among the areas that need urgent attention in building resilience within the region is the threat of epidemics and pandemics from the cross-border movement of millions of global citizens annually into and out of the region.
He noted that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has already declared pandemics to be global security issues and a Future Global Shock, indicating that countries should take the threats seriously and must carefully manage them.
“Indeed, a 2008 report by the World Bank warned that a global pandemic that lasts a year could trigger a major global recession, while concluding that the economic losses would come not from sickness or death, but from what the World Bank calls “efforts to avoid infection – reducing air travel … avoiding travel to infected destinations, and reducing consumption of services such as restaurant dining, tourism, mass transport, and non-essential retail shopping,” he pointed out.
Mr. Holness said that “given the enormity and simultaneity of the threats facing the region’s tourism sector, Caribbean destinations must respond aggressively or continue to deal with the debilitating economic and social consequences of under-preparedness.”
“In the worst-case scenario, some of the smaller, more vulnerable destinations face the risk of being completely wiped out due to the absence of systems of fortification and disaster-risk management,” he argued
“There is need for a continuous, collaborative and dynamic approach to providing a healthy, safe and secure environment for visitors and local populations alike,” he added.
Source: JIS News