JIS News

A workshop and seminar focusing on Multi-Hazard and Contingency Planning, which would assess and prepare private and public sector tourism satellite interests for natural and man-made hazards, was held on Thursday (August 2), at the Hilton Kingston Hotel.
The forum also focused on mechanisms to be used when interfacing with the national bodies responsible for disaster preparedness, emergencies and crisis management.
The workshop was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS), with support from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
In her presentation, Senior Tourism Specialist for the OAS, Kim Osborne said a decision had been taken to look at the issue of risk management within the tourism sector and “we’ve compiled a multi-hazard contingency planning manual where we have detailed or we have proposed an institutional framework that we think should be used within the tourism sector to help prepare for, respond to and recover from, not only natural disasters but man-made disasters as well.”
The manual builds on what exists within the tourism sector in terms of natural disasters but additional components include, anti-terrorism, fires and other man made disasters that could occur within the tourism industry.
Ms. Osborne added that the manual was presented in Montego Bay this week where it was proposed that a tourism emergency management committee be established to deal specifically with the issue of disaster management within the tourism sector. She added that this committee would form a tourism emergency operation centre that would interface with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) if a disaster occurred within the industry.
She informed that each establishment such as hotels and craft markets need to institute a mechanism within their establishment “to prepare for, respond to and recover from such incidents.” The tourism specialist further stated that “stakeholders have the oppourtunity to walk through a real life exercise” as she pointed out that the manual and the exercise would have provided a level of preparedness.
Meanwhile, Donavan Gentles, Senior Specialist, CDERA stated that the response agency has been partnering with the OAS and other regional institutions “seeking to build a capacity within the tourism sector for incorporating disaster management considerations into their planning and programming,” in a regional effort to “embed a comprehensive disaster management strategy.”
“We are here endorsing the exercise” said Ronald Jackson, Director General of the ODPEM who said their focus this year has been on the tourism sector. “We continue to partner with the Ministry of Tourism and its stakeholders in realizing a more comprehensive approach to disaster management in Jamaica,” he said.

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