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Caribbean tourism officials are standing behind the call by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness to designate Feb. 17 as Global Tourism Resilience Day. The first annual day will be marked during the Global Resilience Conference set for the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.
“The Caribbean is facing things like rising sea levels, global warming, major storms, and it’s time now for us to unify not only from a government perspective but also as a private sector perspective and the specialists who research these topics to find out ways to be sustainable and protective of our region and the industry we represent by way of tourism,” said the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s chairman Kenneth Bryan, who is also minister of tourism for the Cayman Islands, during the recent Caribbean Travel Marketplace. “We are calling on all members who are being affected within our region to come together to this summit as we have dialogue and discussion and potentially find some solutions to these issues that we face. It’s also a symbol of the working together and partnerships between private sector and government.”
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s president Nicola Madden-Greig also expressed her support for collaboration and working on creating concrete solutions to the issues and challenges the region faces.
“During the pandemic we saw an unprecedented amount of cooperation between the public and private sector and what we are trying to do is ensure that those lessons continue to grow beyond just the pandemic and use them in all aspects of the challenges that the region has faced over the many years to ensure we achieve not just recovery but growth,” she said. “We must now truly harness the power of our knowledge, our human capital and resources to overcome our challenges.”
Additionally, Jamaica’s minister of tourism Edmund Bartlett proposed support for the establishment of a Global Resilience Fund to help destinations that are vulnerable to disruptions but have insufficient financial capacity to prepare for and quickly recover from both natural and man-made challenges.
“As the Caribbean is well-known to be the most tourism-dependent region on earth, having both CHTA and CTO join the call to support Global Tourism Resilience Day is critical to our efforts to build the sector back stronger,” said Bartlett.
“To mitigate the worst case scenario, we must be proactive and deliberate,” added Bryan. “This will require support from political leaders in enacting the necessary legislation to adequately prepare for disasters of all types.”
Meanwhile, in calling for the official designation of Global Tourism Resilience Day, Prime Minister Holness also stressed that “as a highly tourism-dependent country, in the most tourism-dependent region in the world, Jamaica has invested heavily in building resilience in the tourism sector,” adding that “during the pandemic, we pioneered the introduction of “resilient corridors” on the island, which assisted greatly in fast-tracking the recovery for our tourism sector.”
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