The Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, its agencies, and industry partners will seek to further raise awareness about the role Jamaica is playing in promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally-accessible tourism, during its annual celebration of Tourism Awareness Week (TAW). This is in keeping with the Ministry’s drive to ensure that the benefits of tourism are felt by every Jamaican across the length and breadth of the island and to continuously improve the tourism product to meet the unique needs of its visitors.
The week-long celebration will be observed from September 25-October 1, 2016, under the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) theme for World Tourism Day, September 27 – “Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.” It promises to be an engaging week, with a series of activities highlighting the work the Ministry and its agencies are doing to foster universal accessibility within the tourism sector.
According to the UNWTO, 15% of the world’s population is estimated to live with some form of disability. More specifically, there is an estimated 1 billion people around the world, who are unable to enjoy the privilege of travelling to experience another culture because of a physical disability.
“Jamaica recognizes the importance of universal accessibility and we want to eventually remove all barriers that may hinder persons with special needs and disabilities from enjoying our beautiful island. We know that with more improvements to the sector in this regard, it makes our country more marketable and appealing, ultimately increasing potential earnings,” shared Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
In observing TAW, the Ministry and its agencies will highlight initiatives such as the national beach development programme which provides full access to some of our island’s best beaches for all Jamaicans and visitors including persons who are physically challenged. Another important undertaking is the development of the Tourism Linkages Network which seeks to ensure that more Jamaicans have the opportunity to be a part of the sector and reap the many benefits.
“I have issued a charge to our team within the Ministry and its agencies, to ensure that as we diversify and improve our tourism product, due consideration is given to accommodating visitors with special needs,” added Minister Bartlett.
The slate of activities for Tourism Awareness Week will include a: social media competition; poster competition; Beach Development Programme Expose on September 27th at Boston Beach, Portland; and the official launch of the National Community Tourism Portal on September 28th at Devon House.