Region Needs Support to Build Disaster Resilience– Bartlett

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, addresses the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Tuesday (November 28) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says it is critical that the region get the necessary support to enable it to effectively prepare, manage and recover from natural disasters.
  • Minister Bartlett noted that the Caribbean is the most tourism-reliant region on earth, with one in five workers directly or indirectly employed by the sector while more than 40 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) is directly related to tourism activities.
  • Minister Bartlett informed that the delegates on Monday (November 27) had very detailed discussions on how to deal with resilience and how to respond to global seismic and climatic disruptions that could impact their economies and the flow of international tourists to their countries.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says it is critical that the region get the necessary support to enable it to effectively prepare, manage and recover from natural disasters.

He noted that resilience against hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters is important in protecting the tourism product on which the people of the region are so heavily dependent.

He was speaking at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Tuesday (November 28).

Minister Bartlett noted that the Caribbean is the most tourism-reliant region on earth, with one in five workers directly or indirectly employed by the sector while more than 40 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) is directly related to tourism activities.

In addition, he said, of the 79 countries of the world that have tourism-dependence of 10 per cent and more, the top 13 are within the Caribbean space.

Minister Bartlett informed that the delegates on Monday (November 27) had very detailed discussions on how to deal with resilience and how to respond to global seismic and climatic disruptions that could impact their economies and the flow of international tourists to their countries.

He noted that the discussions, which took place during a special session on building resilience, “were of great significance, as the issues of how we recover, the speed at which we recover and the pace at which we bring back into action the economic levers within our area, are critical and vital”.

The Minister said he was very pleased that UNWTO Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai, agreed that there is need for a resilience centre in the Caribbean, “and also for an observatory that will enable us to better track these mega-disruptive events that are taking place, be able to manage them more effectively, communicate more succinctly and, more importantly, recover fast so that our economies can be restored quickly,” he said.

Turning to the issue of sustainable tourism development, Mr. Bartlett said that this will only be achieved if there is “informed participation” from all relevant stakeholders, and strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus-building.

He said the cumulative impact of sustainable tourism for the beneficiary economies will be increased investments, both domestic and foreign; growth of industries and micro, small and medium-sized and community-based enterprises; accelerated job creation; sustained economic livelihoods; increased exports; more foreign exchange; and environmental conservation.

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