Jamaica will play a key role in charting the way forward for the global tourism industry this week, when Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill attends three key meetings, which are strategic to the strengthening of the tourism sector within global economies.
Being hosted by Mexico, the meetings include the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of Tourism (T20), in Merida, from May 15–16; a private meeting of T20 Ministers with President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, in Cancun, on May 16; and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Americas Summit, in Cancun, May 16-18. The meetings are being held within the framework of the G20 Leaders Summit, scheduled to be held in Mexico in June 2012. They represent a unique opportunity to strengthen tourism as a driver of economic development, especially at this time as the world’s economies search for new ways to foster job creation and growth.
Dr. McNeill, will be a panelist at the WTTC Summit and will speak on the topic ‘Opening Skies Means Opening up for Business’ on May 17. Other esteemed presenters include the world’s richest man and Chairman of Fundacion Telmex, Carlos Slim, and renowned actor, producer and businessman Robert Redford.
The T20 is a members-driven initiativewhich emerged in response to the Roadmap for Recovery developed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), to chart the way forward for tourism globally. It was developed due to enhanced international cooperation during the global economic crisis, and provides an opportunity for tourism ministers to speak in a coordinated manner on a number of global issues and has the full support of the UNWTO. Among attendees will be regional and G20 Ministers of Tourism, representatives from various NGO’s, CEOs from regional and global hotel companies, airlines, tour operators and online travel agencies as well as opinion leaders from academia and the media.
Jamaica is the only Caribbean country, English or Spanish speaking, to be invited to participate in the T20 event. In celebrating this fact Minister McNeill said “this is an indicator that Jamaica is highly recognized within world tourism and continues to command the respect of our fellow nations and industry players as well. Jamaica is seen as a major player in global tourism and our neighbours value our views on issues affecting the industry globally.” He underscored that “this is not only testament to our maturity within the global industry, but also the success of our sector, which consistently records growth, despite the turbulent economic environment in which we are operating.”
Of his expectations for the nation coming out of these meetings, the Minister said, “our participation should augur well for Jamaica and our tourism industry. Apart from greater recognition for the country, the opportunity to meet with world tourism leaders should bring about stronger inter-regional ties. We will learn about the challenges and successes within the different parts of the world, allowing us to benefit by applying the lessons learnt by other countries. We will also benefit from the exchange of ideas on innovative ways to further develop our tourism and entertainment industries.” Minister McNeill, who left the island today, is being accompanied by Director of Tourism, John Lynch, and returns to the island on Friday, May 18.
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