With safety and security becoming a growing challenge worldwide, the creation of a High Level Task Force was approved by the 104th session of the UNWTO Executive Council in November 2016.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that Jamaica has accepted a special invitation from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to become a member of the High Level Task Force on Tourism and Security (HLTF), which seeks to advance discussions on the current safety and security situation facing the tourism sector globally.
“I am extremely honored that Jamaica has been invited to join this important task force on tourism and security. It is with pleasure that I accept this invitation on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica. Ensuring that visitors across the globe feel safe and secure, is a priority and is in-keeping with the focus of our ministry as we pursue our goal of providing Destination Assurance,” said Minister Bartlett.
In an invitation letter to Minister Bartlett, UNWTO Secretary General, Mr. Taleb Rifai stated that the task force intends to “address the current safety and security situation in travel and tourism and strengthen our collective efforts by bringing together expertise from our sector and various interrelated stakeholders, including from the security, defense, foreign affairs and the intelligence communities.”
It was noted that the HLTF will be comprised of national experts proposed by Member States as well as international experts nominated by the UNWTO and selected based on their expertise in the fields of tourism and security, representing international organizations, academia, and non-governmental/civil society organizations and reflecting regional diversity. The body can, if necessary, draw on additional experts with specific expertise.
Participation in the HLTF is on a pro-bono basis and members will initially serve for a term of two years. However, an extension of the HLTF may be considered by UNWTO.
Minister Bartlett and a high-level delegation of tourism officials are currently attending the largest tourism tradeshow in the world – ITB Berlin, in Germany. While there the Minister has been seeking to promote the destination and encourage investment in the country’s tourism industry through the Ministry’s Shovel Ready initiative. The Minister is expected to return to the island on March 15, 2017.