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Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) is being leveraged by stakeholders around the world to drive the industry’s full reopening and recovery from the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Centre, which was established in 2018 and is based at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, St. Andrew, is mandated to enhance the capacity and capabilities of global tourism destinations to prepare for, manage and swiftly recover from crises or disruptions to the sector.

Against this background, Mr. Bartlett emphasised the Centre’s importance, in light of projections of a two per cent monthly contraction in global economic growth, and a one to two per cent decline in international tourism arrivals which, he noted, could result in lost earnings totalling between US$30 million and US$50 million, should the pandemic persist.

He was speaking at the opening of the latest Edmund Bartlett Lecture Series, which was digitally hosted on Thursday (June 25), under the theme ‘Managing the Hurricane Season in the Shadow of the Coronavirus Pandemic’.

Mr. Bartlett said that in keeping with its mandate, the Centre’s representatives have already engaged in a number of COVID-19-related activities.

These, he informed, include their participation in several task force initiatives; global thought leadership activities, incorporating webinars, lectures and newspaper articles focused on the industry’s future; a tourism workers awareness campaign highlighting COVID-19 safeguards; data management and documentation of regional COVID-19-related activities; and establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework for post-COVID-19 reopening exercises across various regions.

Mr. Bartlett advised that, in the case of the latter, the Centre will be working with the Government of Kenya and other African nations in their efforts to this end.

This programmed intervention, he further indicated, results from the completion of a study by the Centre’s satellite office in Kenya on the pandemic’s impact on travel and tourism, measures taken and the recovery pathways.

“The report has [been] handed over to the National Tourism Crisis Steering Committee, composed of key stakeholders in tourism and related areas from the public and private sectors,” the Minister noted.

Mr. Bartlett said other scheduled engagements include establishing a tourism resilience journal, which is slated to be launched on August 10 and additional webinars and lectures, such as Thursday’s forum.

That webinar saw participants examining the 2020 forecast for severe weather events and analysing governments’ capacity to effectively prepare and manage these, against the background of anticipated changes for a post-COVID-19 global economy and its recovery.

Among the presenters were Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Disaster Risk Reduction, Recovery and Resilience Team, Ronald Jackson; Assistant Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Lisa Indar; and Global Director, Consumer Industry Weather and Climate Strategy, IBM Services, Paul Walsh.

“I look forward to not just impact in terms of the ideas that [will] flow, but the activities that will ensue thereafter. It’s very important for us to be able to activate on our ideas and to implement effective measures that will inure to the growth and thriving capabilities of our destinations,” Mr. Bartlett said.

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