Jamaica-based tourism resilience centre responds to Bahamas crisis
Deputy Chairman of the SRI, Adam Stewart and Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett in discussion at the press conference at the Ministry of Tourism in Kingston.
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett says that the Jamaica-based Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre has begun to mobilise resources to assist the Bahamas following the devastating effects of hurricane Dorian.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Jamaica Tourist Board’s New Kingston office on Wednesday, the minister stated: “We have begun the process, from the Centre, to reach out to the global tourism community, to mobilise resources to support the effort of bringing back the economies of our neighbour, as well as, to bring tourism resources.”
He also shared that the centre has been in touch with the Bahamas Tourism Minister, Dionisio D'Aguilar to discuss the state of the industry and the nature of the help that is required.
Following this conversation, Minister Bartlett has made contact with regional and international partners who are specifically involved in tourism development, to assist the Bahamas in the redevelopment of their tourism industry.
“We are now moving to get in touch with our partners such as major hotels, airlines and all major tour operators who are beneficiaries from tourism and who can, in fact, provide resource support to enable recovery in countries which are vulnerable and can be impacted,” said Bartlett.
He said one such local partner is the Sandals Resorts International (SRI), which has already begun a response mechanism through its SRI Foundation.
Speaking at the press conference, Deputy Chairman of the SRI, Adam Stewart said: “All three of the Sandals properties in the Bahamas have been unaffected which gives us [SRI] the opportunity to focus on recovery and assisting however we can.
“We are proud to be working with the Government of Jamaica and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre to help our neighbouring island of the Bahamas who parts of which were badly affects by hurricane Dorian."
He added: “This morning the foundation, through the efforts of those who have supported us thus far, donated US$10,000 worth of water, as the first gesture to those in Abaco, through our partner the Bahamian non-profit group HeadKnowles… A partner of Sandals has also donated US$100,000 worth of cleaning material which we will also be collecting in the next 48 hours.”
First announced during the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism in St. James in November 2017, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre has partners from across the world. These partners include the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); World Travel and Tourism Council; Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; Caribbean Tourism Organisation; and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
“The establishment of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at the University of the West Indies was a direct response to these types of disruptions which will come into our space from time to time and impact our economies. More specifically to find ways and means of building capacity to withstand these disruptions but more so to recover quickly and thrive after the recovery,” explained the Minister.
The overall goal of the centre is to assess (i.e. research and monitor), plan for, forecast, mitigate and manage risks related to tourism resilience and crisis management. This is being achieved through five objectives - Research and Development, Advocacy and Communication, Programme/Project Design and Management, as well as Training and Capacity Building.
During the press briefing, Minister Bartlett also disclosed that he will participate in the 23rd Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) General Assembly in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation during the period September 9-13, 2019.
“While in Russia I will be presenting the case overall for further collaboration with the Centre in relation to dealing with Caribbean vulnerabilities. In the process, I will be supporting the Bahamas in their own recovery efforts.
"I will be partnering with the Minister there to ensure that a full appreciation for the extent of the damage in the area and the extent of support that is required is realised by all of the partners who will be coming from about 120 countries from across the world,” said the Bartlett.