All Systems go for UNWTO Conference – Bartlett

Photo: Claudia Gardner Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says that all is in place for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference, which gets underway on Monday (Nov. 27) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James.
  • Mr. Bartlett said that the event is being staged at a time when the visitor arrival numbers “have been going through the roof,” noting that the country “has never seen an October as it did in 2017 where we had a 16 per cent growth.”
  • Mr. Bartlett said he is happy that for the first time cruise shipping will be a part of a UNWTO conference, with top executives from the two largest cruise lines in the world –Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines – slated to attend.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says that all is in place for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference, which gets under way on Monday (November 27) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James.

“It’s all systems go,” he said in an interview with JIS News. “We have had a number of final meetings with the planning committees and everybody is on top of their game,” he noted.

He informed that 1,300 delegates have registered to attend the three-day event. “Initially, we were looking for 800 delegates and now we are up to 1,300 almost to the point where we can say we are oversubscribed,” he said.

Mr. Bartlett said that “even as we prepare for this very important conference, our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the flooding”.

“Fortunately, though, we have not had to alter our plans, as the Rose Hall area and also the Sangster International Airport have not been affected,” he told JIS News.

He said he has been in discussions with the hoteliers and they are all excited about the prospects ahead and the fact that Jamaica is hosting a conference of this magnitude.

“We have been saying for some time now that this will be the biggest tourism conference to ever be staged anywhere in the Americas, and we have not been exaggerating,” he said.

Mr. Bartlett said that the event is being staged at a time when the visitor arrival numbers “have been going through the roof”, noting that the country “has never seen an October as it did in 2017 where we had a 16 per cent growth.”

“Now, these are phenomenal figures that we are bent on improving as we go along,” he said.

“The kind of international publicity that we will be getting from the conference will give us that opportunity to capitalise even further, and to say that we are truly excited would be putting it mildly,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett said he is happy that, for the first time, cruise shipping will be a part of a UNWTO conference, with top executives from the two largest cruise lines in the world – Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines – slated to attend.

“This is a conference about sustainable tourism, and all our tourism partners, both land and sea, will be at the roundtable for important discussions,” he pointed out.

“The Caribbean will be well represented from the standpoint where we are now one of the biggest tourism regions on earth. For many of us, tourism is our lifeline… our bread and butter, and that is why you will find discussions concerning multi-destination marketing taking on such huge significance at this conference,” he said.

The conference is being jointly hosted by the UNWTO, Government of Jamaica, World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Stakeholder partners include the Caribbean Tourism Organisation; Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; private international development company, Chemonics International; and George Washington University in the United States.

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