Jamaica News: Local and overseas tourism and environment stakeholders are now in Jamaica for the second Tourism Resilience Summit of the Americas, now under way at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St. Andrew.
The two-day event, which opened on Wednesday (October 9), is being jointly hosted by the UWI and Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, under the theme ‘Building Tourism Resilience for Sustainable Development’.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in a video message, said the Summit is timely and relevant, as it will provide stakeholders and interest groups with the opportunity to share perspectives and collaborative approaches on enhancing tourism resilience in the region.
“Specifically, this forum will facilitate fruitful discussions around critical themes such as risk assessment, mapping and planning, sustainability, best practices, innovations, recovery tools, funding models, alternative tourism models, digital security, appropriate policies, and rehabilitation and construction,” he said.
Reiterating the Caribbean tourism sector’s vulnerability to climate change-influenced natural disasters, due to the region’s geographical characteristics, Mr. Bartlett said it is anticipated these and other threats, such as cybercrime, and epidemics and pandemics will accelerate in the coming years, thereby creating further volatility for the sector.
Compounding this, he added, is the spontaneity of these occurrences, “which worsens their impact and makes recovery much more difficult”.
“Thus, while the sector remains critical to promoting inclusive growth, job creation, and sustained economic livelihoods in the Caribbean, the challenges, threats and risks to the future of the sector must be assessed to ensure that the region remains competitive and that the sector is sustainable for future generations,” the Minister further argued.
Mr. Bartlett noted that tourism resilience emphasises daily management of the sector, ways to be better prepared for and manage crises, and ensure greater shared economic and social benefits from tourism in the Caribbean.
He further emphasised that understanding resilience concepts can aid in identifying the necessary interventions, enabling the maintenance of essential functions as well as faster and more successful regeneration.
Consequently, Mr. Bartlett said he is optimistic that at the Summit’s conclusion on Thursday (October 10), “all the insights shared, along with other expected outcomes, will contribute to policy formulation and the development of strategic frameworks to build the resilience of tourism destinations worldwide”.
The Summit’s scheduled activities include the Edmund Bartlett Lecture, focusing on ‘Ocean 2040 Summits: Coastal and Small Island States Climate Resiliency Strategic Action’; ‘Sustainable Sargassum Solutions for the Americas Round Table Discussions’ as well as five panel discussions.
Among the officials at the opening ceremony were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith; former United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai, who co-chairs the GTRCMC with Mr. Bartlett; UWI Pro-Vice Chancellor and UWI Mona Campus Principal, Professor Dale Webber; GTRCMC Board Member, Dr. David Smith; and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Chief Executive Officer and Director General, Frank Comito.
Source: JIS News