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Jamaica’s Tourism Minister presides over first Resilience Center Board of Governors meeting

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Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the first board meeting for the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center is scheduled to take place in London tomorrow. The group will discuss the creation and implementation of an official strategy, for the development of the Centre.

“We will be hosting, for the first time in the history of tourism, the board of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center. I look forward to working alongside the esteemed members of the board, during this very important meeting. Our board is extremely diverse, and has academics from every continent. This diversity I think is the greatest impact this institution will have on our future,” said the Minister.

The Center will be housed at the UWI Mona Campus and will be officially launched during a conference coinciding with the Caribbean Marketplace Expo in Montego Bay, from January 29-31, 2019.

The overall goal of the Centre will be to assess (research/monitor), plan-for, forecast, mitigate, and manage risks related to tourism Resilience and Crisis Management. This will be achieved through five objectives – Research and Development, Advocacy and Communication, Program/Project Design and Management, as well as Training and Capacity Building.

It will specifically be tasked with creating, producing and generating toolkits, guidelines and policies to assist with preparatory and recovery efforts of tourism stakeholders affected by climatic, pandemic, cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism related disruptions.

According to the Minister, “The first output we will have from the Centre after the launch, will be a global policy framework for climate tourism resilience which will assist nations to plan for and recover from major climate disruptions. This framework was an outcome of the recently held Tourism Resilience Summit of the Americas at The University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters on September 13, 2018” .

The meeting is being chaired by Former United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai, who has committed to serving as Chairman pro tem.

Board members include Hon. Earl Jarett, Chief Executive Officer, The Jamaica National Group; Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies; Professor Lee Miles, Professor of Crisis and Disaster Management, Bournemouth University; and Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.

Other board members for the Centre are Mr. Brett Tollman, Chief Executive Officer, The Travel Corporation; Ambassador Dho Young-shim, Chairperson, UNWTO Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) Foundation, World Tourism Organization; Dr. Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Asia Travel Association and Mr. Ryoichi Matsuyama, President, Japan National Tourism Organization.

Minister Bartlett noted that the meeting would also include other specially invited guests such as, President of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Patricia Affonso-Dass, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, David Scowsill and Director of the National Travel and Tourism Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Isabel Hill.

“This constellation of global personalities, that we have been able to pull together, is a testament to the effectiveness of Jamaica on the international scene as a major tourism player. We are excited about the prospects of bringing that knowledge, level of experience and expertise into Jamaica and the Caribbean, that will enable us to become the real reference point for global resilience discussions,” said the Minister.

The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center was first announced in the “Montego Bay Declaration”, which was unveiled at last year’s UNWTO Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism, in Montego Bay, St James.

The facility will include a Virtual Tourism Observatory, which will monitor, forecast and evaluate threats to destinations globally.

While in London, the Minister will be joined by Donovan White, Director of Tourism; Jennifer Griffith, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism; Dr. Lloyd Waller, Senior Advisor/Consultant, to the Minister; Gis’elle Jones, Research and Risk Management in the Tourism Enhancement Fund; and Anna-Kay Newell, Executive Assistant

eTN publisher Juergen Steinmetz will be attending this board meeting as Chairman of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners.