Sunday 8 December, 2019

IDB to host Tourism Crisis Communications meeting in Kingston

Therese Turner-Jones, IDB’s Country Representative for Jamaica and General Manager for the Country Caribbean Group.

Therese Turner-Jones, IDB’s Country Representative for Jamaica and General Manager for the Country Caribbean Group.

Over 50 national, regional, and private sector authorities in tourism crisis management and communications and disaster risk management are expected to participate in a regional meeting on “Reinforcing Crisis Communication as a Critical Element of Caribbean Tourism Resilience and Disaster Risk Management.”

The event is part of the IDB’s series of consultations with authorities known as Regional Public Dialogues. It will take place on November 25 and 26, 2019 at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston.  

It will be hosted by the Environment, Rural Development and Disaster Risk Management (RND) Division and the Caribbean Country Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica. 

The dialogue comes amid a growing number of events impacting the tourism industry in the Caribbean, including the recent passage of Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas.

Therese Turner-Jones, IDB’s Country Representative for Jamaica and General Manager for the Country Caribbean Group noted that “as individual countries and collectively as a region, we do a good job in marketing tourism. When there is a crisis, there is room to improve our communications and coordination of our responses. Often, adverse media coverage of disaster or crisis-affected destinations can have a collateral impact on unaffected neighbouring destinations.”

The dialogue marks an important milestone opportunity to discuss, develop, consolidate and improve protocols, operational guidelines and procedures towards optimizing crisis communication within regional and national tourism and disaster risk management architectures. It will also provide an opportunity to refine commitments of actions and pledges from key stakeholders. 

Turner-Jones underscored the need to review crisis communication systems in the context of their efficacy as well as to optimize and facilitate reform through innovative investments in behavioural research, big data collection, analysis, and digital transformation. She noted the Bank’s concern about the Caribbean’s overall tourism sustainability over the long term stating that “the IDB stands ready to support its Caribbean member countries in policy development, reform and investments in knowledge building, applied research and digital transformation to strengthen crisis-communications systems to improve resilience in the tourism sector.”

The IDB has commissioned a rapid diagnostic assessment in tourism crisis communication and disaster risk management in two member countries namely the Bahamas and Barbados.  Findings of this assessment will be presented at the Dialogue and will serve as the background technical note that will inform discussions. New developments in the field will also be presented.

 “Reinforcing crisis communication planning regarding natural hazards and other emerging risks is critical in building destination resiliency and consumer confidence. Ultimately the resilience of Caribbean tourism over the long term lies in part on how well communication strategies are integrated within the tourism sector’s disaster risk management policies, how risk perception is managed, and how quickly sector and ancillary businesses recover and restore normalcy,” Turner-Jones stated.

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