JIS News

Jamaica, represented by Tourism and Entertainment Minister the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has been elected first Vice-Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council (EC) for 2013. This is a historic first for the country which has previously served as second Vice-Chair. Jamaica was elevated following a successful bid during the elections at the 94th meeting of the UNWTO EC held in Campeche, Mexico, recently.

The UNWTO EC deliberates on policies and strategies that affect tourism worldwide before making recommendations to the General Assembly for action. As a member of the EC, Jamaica represents the interests of the Americas region. Jamaica will continue to serve as a member of the EC through 2013 after assuming the position of Second Vice Chair for the first time in January 2011, and is one of two Vice Chairs for the Council.

Minister McNeill, who represented Jamaica at the meeting said, “it is a proud moment for the nation, especially bearing in mind that we are a small island state." He added, “it is a strong testimony of the far reaching impact of Jamaica on the other nations of the world, which we expect to be further strengthened by our projected positive short and long term growth and performance."

Twenty-six countries from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe attended the meeting, with sessions chaired by Kenya, the then Chairman of the EC; Romania, the then first Vice-Chair; and Jamaica, the then 2nd Vice-Chair. As second Vice-Chair Jamaica chaired several sessions, including the selection of the venue for the 95th EC meeting, scheduled for May 28-29, 2013, the Committee for the Review of Applications for Affiliate Membership, and the application of the new UNWTO institutional image in the official languages.

Visa and travel facilitation was among the issues discussed by the EC, with Minister McNeill stressing the need for in-transit visa facilitation to be included in the topics for discussion at the UNWTO Ministers’ Summit at World Travel Market, held in London on November 6, 2012. The meeting was held under the theme Open Borders and Open Skies: Breaking Barriers to Travel.

The other countries rounding off the chairmanship of the UNWTO Executive Council for 2013 are Romania – which was successful in its bid for Chairmanship and Mozambique – 2nd Vice-Chair. The 95th EC meeting will be held in Belgrade, Serbia.


For further information contact:                                                                                           

Kingsley Roberts

Senior Director, Corporate Communications,

Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment,

64 Knutsford Boulevard,

Kingston 5.

Tel: 920-4926-30, ext: 5934

Cell: 322-9871

Fax: 920-4944