Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre is scheduled to open by the first week in October at a newly refurbished J$27 million facility housed at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
“We have our first conference scheduled for the first week in October of this year, so we would like to bring the Board members from all over the world to come and to see the Centre functional and operational, whilst we are hosting the event,” said Minister Bartlett.
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, Programme/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.
Speaking yesterday at a site visit of the facility, the Minister said, “We are grateful to the University for allowing us the use of the space and more so to enable us to make it the kind of facility that we can be happy to welcome the world to participate here in great things and other kinds of cerebral activities. This partnership will give Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world a new opportunity to understand global disruptions.”
The Centre is focusing on four key deliverables that at this time. One is the establishment of an academic journal, which will be a compendium of scholarly publications, on various elements of the five segments of disruptions. The editorial board has been established, headed by Professor Lee Miles of Bournemouth University, with the assistance of George Washington University.
The other deliverables include: a compendium of best practices/ a blueprint for resilience; a resilience barometer to measure the resilience in countries and provide benchmarks to guide countries; and to establish an academic chair at the University of West Indies for innovation and resilience.
“UWI will completely refurbish the Centre, which will include a well-appointed conference room, which will enable us to have the video conference technology needed to have virtual meetings to connect a number of board members who operate in different parts of the world. It will include an office for the chairman and two other offices for deputy directors as well as the executive director, who I am very pleased to share is Prof Lloyd Waller from the UWI.
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre will be staffed by local, regional and internationally recognized experts and professionals, in the fields of: climate management, project management, tourism management, tourism risk management, tourism crisis management, communication management, tourism marketing and branding as well as monitoring and evaluation.
It will also provide research fellowship opportunities for individuals seeking to either expand their knowledge or, gain experience in tourism resilience and crisis management, through postdoctoral research, and internships for undergraduate and graduate students in fields of study related to tourism resilience and crisis management.
“We know that the presence of the first ever Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at the Mona campus is going to begin a whole new process of engagement in the Caribbean, in terms of global tourism activities here. We see this as a big part of the thought leadership and role that the Caribbean is now playing in global tourism.
“We are excited about the future of tourism, the opportunities for more research, the greater appreciation of how to manage disruptions and how to identify and track these disruptions. Then, the most important factor is the recovery process,” said the Minister.