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Former Colombian president backs Jamaica’s tourism initiatives

Published:Sunday | April 29, 2018 | 12:10 AM
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (left) presenting the pictorial book, Jamaica to Former President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe in Bogota, Colombia last Wednesday.


Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe last week endorsed Jamaica's Small and Medium-Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) initiative and signalled his intention to attend a summit on SMTEs to be held in Jamaica next January.

Uribe, who served as the 31st President of Colombia from 2002 to 2010, made the comments came during a meeting with Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett in Bogota, Colombia last Wednesday.

"I am truly honoured and pleased that President Uribe was receptive to the concept of building out more support for SMTEs which accounts for 80 per cent of tourism activity," said Bartlett.

"It is crucial that we help to develop this group, which only shares 20 per cent of the financial gains, so they are able to profit more from the industry and achieve economic sustainability," added Bartlett.

In presenting a concept document to Uribe, Bartlett highlighted that the Tourism Ministry's Linkages Council formed part of the strategy to provide greater engagement between SMTEs and other areas of the economy.

Bartlett also outlined the need for a Global Resilience and Crisis Management Centre to be housed at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

"Tourism remains vulnerable to global disruptions such as pandemics and natural disasters that threaten sustainability. This centre will be able to not only track global disruptions but help communicate with the global community in real time and provide assistance to affected countries," he noted.

The global summit on the SMTEs will be held along with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's annual Caribbean Market Place.

Bartlett recently completed a JTB coordinated tour of South America where he lead a team into meetings with travel industry stakeholders in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia.

He was joined by JTB Head, Donovan White; senior adviser /strategist, Delano Seiveright; JTB's Deputy Director of Tourism, Sales/USA and Latin America, Donnie Dawson and other senior JTB and tourism ministry officials.

Several new non stop flights between major cities in Latin America and Montego Bay, Jamaica were secured during the trip, including an increase to daily flights starting July between Panama City and Montego Bay by Copa Airlines.