Jamaica, Canada in ‘significant’ tourism talks 

Jamaica and Canada on Friday agreed to enter a new era of cooperation and collaboration in tourism, resilience, and sustainability.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett held talks with his Canadian counterpart Randy Paul Andrew Boissonnault in Ottawa, which he said was “highly significant”.

Bartlett said the high-level meeting is not only important for Canada and Jamaica but also the global travel and tourism industry, the resilience of the sector, and also for the future of Commonwealth tourism cooperation.

The Jamaican Cabinet minister and founder and chairman of the Global Tourism Resilence and Crisis Management Centre at The University of the West Indies, Mona, also met with a team of faculty members led by Dr Bettina Appel Kuzmarov, associate vice-president of Carleton University, along with graduate students, to discuss the establishment of the second Global Tourism Resilence and Crisis Management Centre in Canada.

The first was launched in April this year at the George Brown College in Toronto.

Minister Bartlett outlined the concept of the resilence and crisis management centres, which is headed by Professor Lloyd Waller of The University of the West Indies, with satellite centres now in six countries (Jamaica, Kenya, Jordan, UK, USA, and Canada).

He pointed to the global growth of tourism ahead of the novel coronavirus pandemic as the fastest-growing economic activity, generating 10 per cent of global gross domestic product, 11 per cent of jobs ($400 million), and $9 trillion in expenditure by 1.4 billion tourists across the world.

Bartlett indicated that Canada was a significant tourism outbound market as well as a strong destination, where tourism is its second-largest foreign exchange earner. The Caribbean, which is the most tourism-dependent region, relies on the Canadian market greatly for international tourists arrivals and investment, he stated.

According to the minister, the tough reality, however, is that tourism is most vulnerable to global shocks, like pandemics, epidemics, economic downturns, seismic activity, weather events, wars, terrorism, cybersecurity, etc, which must be tracked, mitigated, managed, and recovered from quickly in order to thrive.

“The need, therefore, to build capacity to bounce back quickly and grow are the driving forces behind the resilence the industry seeks. Some large and economically strong countries already have this capacity, but the vast majority of tourism-dependent countries, especially small island developing states, which are super vulnerable, have little or none,” the minister said.

The centres, therefore, he continued, will become the repository of ideas, best practices, research, and development of tools to assist countries in tracking and observing disruptions, mitigating, managing, and recovering and doing so quickly in order to thrive.

The academic rigour required, he said, “can best be found in universities and institutions of higher learning, which are also heavily populated by young minds ready for innovation, inventions, and the creation of new and appropriate technology, systems, and methods to respond to this critical imperative which will enable sustainability of our planet, people, and tourism”.

Bartlett also presented the book Tourism Resilence and Sustainability, which he co-edited with Professor Waller, to Dr Appel Kuzmoruv.

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