KINGSTON — The Global Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management, a first-of-its-kind resource in the Caribbean, will be operational by September 2018 with an official launch planned for January 2019, says Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
Based at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, the Centre’s will carry out policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally.
The January 2019 launch coincides with the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, taking place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre Jan. 29 – 31.
“In today’s world, tourism has become an important, if not vital, contributor to peace-building, the sharing of cultures, and creating opportunities for mutual understanding,” said Min. Bartlett. “To guard Jamaica and our partners throughout the Caribbean from extreme weather events, natural disasters and political turmoil, The Global Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management will ensure that we can continue to benefit from the economic, social, cultural, and historic value that tourism has to offer.”
A 2017 report issued by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that, while tourism remains strong globally, travellers are increasingly concerned about safety in the face of unrest and terror conflicts, public health crises, climate change and natural disasters, and cybercrime and cyber-security.
By convening domestic and international policymakers and practitioners at all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors and academia, The Centre will develop strategies to address and confront current and future threats, says Bartlett.
The Centre also will include a Sustainable Tourism Observatory, which will assist with preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions. Like the European Union Tourism Observatory, the Jamaica Centre’s observatory will support policymakers and businesses develop better strategies to support a more competitive global tourism sector.
The Centre has already taken proactive steps to strengthen disaster preparedness in Jamaica. Six satellite phones were procured for destination managers from the resort locations of Negril, Montego Bay, Kingston, Ocho Rios, Falmouth, Portland and St. Thomas. The goal is to help improve communications between the Ministry and its agencies, the tourism emergency operations centres, National Emergency Operations Centre, resort areas, and wider tourism partners and stakeholders.