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Former Colombian President to be keynote speaker for upcoming international tourism event


Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says that Álvaro Uribe, former President of Colombia, is the keynote speaker for the ‘Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth – Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTE)’, scheduled to take place next January.

“I am very pleased to announce that President Uribe will be our keynote speaker for our very important conference. He has a strong track record of encouraging small and medium enterprises and has used this as a tool, to deal with some of the security issues they had dealing with the cartels and so on,” said the Minister during a recent press conference at the Ministry of Tourism’s New Kingston Office.

The conference is being hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with the Government of Jamaica, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, on January 29, 2019.

It will seek to build the capacity of local tourism suppliers by way of strategic sessions that will focus on issues affecting suppliers and ways to fix them.

The Minister stressed that as a result of Jamaica’s global petitioning for small entrepreneurs in tourism, the conference will be attended by major international players in the industry.

“We are expecting representation from all the countries within the Caribbean, and some of South America and Latin America, where the Organization of American States has relationships,” said the Minister.

He also added that major global institutions have responded in a major way to provide the much-needed assistance for Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises.

“The OAS has come on board with a programme for the first time in its history, which is going to be unfolded in our conference in January next year in Montego Bay. They have put together US $500,000 to be made available to SMTEs in the Caribbean.

This was a direct response to the global conference Jamaica hosted last November, where one of the three outcomes was to establish SMTE projects around the world. This is significant because 80% of tourism is driven by SMTEs but only 20 % of the benefits from the industry is returned to them,” said the Minister.

The conference coincides with two major tourism events – the Caribbean Marketplace Expo, which is the signature tradeshow for tourism in the region and the launch of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre.

Álvaro Uribe, is a Colombian politician who served as the 31st President of Colombia from August 2002 to August 2010.