Wed | Feb 21, 2018

Jamaica to host UNWTO global conference

Published:Monday | October 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Montego Bay, (JIS):

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, says Jamaica has scored another first by being next year's host of the inaugural United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Tourism Development and Sustainability.

Speaking to JIS News following the opening session of the 'Gastronomy of Fats and Oils: The Art of Choosing, Preparing and Cooking Good Food' seminar at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa hotel in Rose Hall, St James, last week, Bartlett informed that the event will be held in December 2017 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

"Next year has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year for Sustainable Tourism Development and we are very excited that little Jamaica has been selected to host such a prestigious event," Bartlett said. "It will see the coming together of 157 tourism ministers from around the world as well as the participation of some 500 companies that are involved in tourism services and provisions." Bartlett pointed out that it will be the first time that both arms of the UNWTO - the private and public sector - are coming together to put on a global event, and that Jamaica stands to benefit tremendously from being the host nation.

"This is also a huge opportunity for the value-added side of tourism, such as health and wellness network, gastronomy and entertainment and music," he said. Bartlett said that Jamaica's food will be on display and that culinary presentations and prototypes will be used to showcase the authenticity of the country's products, and its world-class dishes.

He said the goal is to maximise on all the benefits that are available, enabling Jamaica to be the number-one tourism destination in the region.

"We are just coming back from China and Armenia and you will be amazed at all the opportunities we have at our fingertips. It is no coincidence that we are being looked at in such a positive light internationally. It is about having a sustained presence in the marketplace and also our policy of destination assurance, where our visitors are speaking glowingly about us, especially on the social networks," he said.

The UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability, and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.