UNWTO Secretary General Calls for Closer Ties between Visitors and Communities

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (centre), looks on as Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb Rifai (left), greets President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Danilo Medina Sánchez. Occasion was the opening ceremony for the UNWTO Global Conference on ‘Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism’, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on November 28.

Story Highlights

  • Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb Rifai, says there must be more interconnectedness between visitors and residents of communities, in order to achieve greater community empowerment.
  • “We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities. This is a very important message we have to keep in mind. We cannot let our visitors live in bubbles; this is not acceptable anymore,” he emphasised.
  • Dr. Rifai said an issue such as this must be addressed courageously and with much conviction, and that part of the solution lies in “stronger, effective and transparent partnerships with the private sector and the Government”.

Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb Rifai, says there must be more interconnectedness between visitors and residents of communities, in order to achieve greater community empowerment.

He also suggested that there must be a “lowering of the walls between the host communities and the visitors”, in order to achieve that goal.

“We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities. This is a very important message we have to keep in mind. We cannot let our visitors live in bubbles; this is not acceptable anymore,” he emphasised.

The Secretary General was addressing the opening ceremony of the UNWTO Global Conference on ‘Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism’, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on November 28.

Dr. Rifai said an issue such as this must be addressed courageously and with much conviction, and that part of the solution lies in “stronger, effective and transparent partnerships with the private sector and the Government”.

“We cannot achieve any community empowerment without the full cooperation of the private sector and the owners of business,” he emphasised.

Also at the opening ceremony were Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett; Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship, Councillor Homer Davis; St. Lucian Prime Minister, His Excellency Allen Chastanet; and President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Danilo Medina Sánchez.

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