Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, stands ready to support Indonesia in their recovery program, following a tsunami that struck along the rim of the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands, killing at least 373 people.
In a letter to the Tourism Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, Hon. Arief Yahya, Co-Chairman of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says, “I express to you our deepest sympathies on the horrible tsunami event which claimed so many lives and destroyed so much of the human and other assets of your beautiful country.”
He further noted, “The Centre stands ready to support your recovery efforts and will meet with its partners to identify possible solutions.”
Hon. Yahya has indicated that his country has activated the Tourism Crisis Centre to monitor the progress of the disaster and coordinate with all relevant National Boards and departments, such as the Disaster Management Board, Local Tourism Department. It is also collaborating currently with various stakeholders around the disaster area to collect and gather information about the affected tourism ecosystems and to provide services to the tourists.
Indonesia’s tourism ministry has also halted promotional activities on Lampung and Banten, two popular destinations.
“Much like the Caribbean, Indonesia depends heavily on tourism to bolster the country’s economy. In fact, the country saw a 12.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in the first seven months of 2018 and has been growing steadily. So I know this will have a devastating financial impact on the country as they slowly recover,” said Minister Bartlett.
It was reported by CNN that both residential and tourist areas were impacted, with some beachfront hotels and homes being swept away by the powerful waves. They have also disclosed that more than 400 homes, 9 hotels and 10 ships were severely damaged by the tsunami.
The tsunami was said to be caused by a chunk of the volcanic Anak Krakatau Island slipping into the ocean and no warning was triggered.
The official launch of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre is scheduled for January 2019, during the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The Centre, which will be housed at the University of the West Indies Mona, was first announced during the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, held in Montego Bay last November, as a response to political turmoil, climatic events, pandemics, shifting global economies as well as crime and violence which can be devastating to travel and tourism.