The Fund, which the Minister says requires global support, would be the first funding facility managed in the region, which is specifically designed to assist vulnerable tourism-dependent destinations across the globe.
The call comes against the backdrop of the brief and discredited coronavirus scare in the island today, as well as the occurrence of 7.7 earthquake in the Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and Cuba earlier today.
“The call therefore by the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, through its chairman, is very apropos. It reinforces the need for the big partners of the world, private and public sector, to join together to create this Global Fund, to enable many of the countries that are at the heart of the tourism market to be able to build resilience.”
He added that the fund would also help to, “create the necessary infrastructure that is required to not only recognise these disruptions, but to also be able to determine and track them. But most importantly, equip vulnerable countries to be able to respond, manage, and to then recover and grow after.”
The Fund would be designed to help to build capacity to respond to disruptive threats to the economic sustainability of tourism dependent countries. It would also target those destinations which are deemed as experiencing high climate vulnerability but have insufficient financial capacity to prepare for and recover quickly from disruptions.
“Tourism is a huge part of the economies for us in the Caribbean and we are very vulnerable to climatic and pandemic events. Therefore, we have to take a proactive approach in regards to driving capacity to respond quickly.
The Fund would therefore help us to create a resource base for information development and dissemination. It would also help us to create capacity to innovate, build better and respond in Nano time to these disruptions,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister also shared that while focus would be placed on the Caribbean, which is the most tourism dependent region in the world, the Fund would be useful to destinations across the globe.
“Destinations all over the world are affected by these disruptions. There are three times that I can recall global tourism not growing – the Sars virus in 2003, 9-11 terrorist attack and the economic meltdown of 2008. Now we are faced with other issues which I am sure the Fund will have a positive impact on, if it receives more support,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre located at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, would oversee the management of the Global Tourism Resilience Fund.
The Centre is aimed at assessing, forecasting, mitigating and managing risks related to tourism resilience, caused by various disruptive factors. These disruptions may include climate change and natural disasters, cybercrime, cybersecurity, pandemics, terrorism, war, population and the changing funding models.
It was first announced during the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism in St. James in November 2017, and is the first of its kind.