Speaking at the first press briefing for global media, which was jointly held by the Jamaica Tourism Ministry and the UNWTO in Germany today (March 7, 2017), UNWTO Secretary General, Mr. Taleb Rifai, introduced a new partner – the World Bank. Jamaica Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in addressing the gathering, said he believes that a conference has now been set on a new and interesting path with the inclusion of such a major partner.
Minister Bartlett, has announced that the World Bank has agreed to partner with Jamaica and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in staging the historic Global Conference on Building Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism for Development, which will be staged from November 27 to 29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James. The move is aimed at boosting the global impact and positioning of the conference.
“The inclusion of the World Bank as a partner will be a ‘game-changer’ in terms of how the conference is positioned. It will go way beyond the limits of a technical conference, but will be transactional and business oriented,” Minister Bartlett noted.
He added that “the addition of the World Bank will provide a grand opportunity for international funders of tourism to meet with Ministers as well as private and public sector entities that have development projects and are able to access funding through these entities. So Jamaica will be the destination where many of these major sustainable tourism development transactions will actually take place.”
Mr. Bartlett, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Affiliate Members of the UNWTO, went on to explain that the addition of the World Bank to the initial partners – the Government of Jamaica, international development firm Chemonics International and the UNWTO – will broaden the concept from being environmentally driven to now include themes such as economic development, financial management, job creation and human capital development.
The conference is of great historical significance as it will mark the first time that the UNWTO and its affiliate members will stage a world conference on tourism in the Caribbean or the Americas overall.
“This conference is so important to us in Jamaica and by extension the world. Here we are, for the first time saying that tourism is a catalyst for global peace on the political side, for economic development on the community side and for people enhancement through the whole business of development and training,” he said.
The Minister also disclosed that the next global media session with the World Bank will be in Bangkok, Thailand where the partners will meet with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The first briefing formed part of a series of activities for Minister Bartlett and a high-level delegation of tourism officials who are currently attending the largest tourism tradeshow in the world – ITB Berlin, in Germany. While there the Minister has been seeking to promote the destination and encourage investment in the country’s tourism industry through the Ministry’s Shovel Ready initiative. The Minister is expected to return to the island on March 15, 2017.