Towards a Montego Bay Declaration
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has said that a major outcome of the 'United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism' being held in November in Montego Bay, Jamaica, will be the creation of a 'Montego Bay Declaration'.
The declaration will be used as a road map to strengthen public-private-partnerships and enhance donor funding and investor engagement, which will create the framework for more responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
Speaking at the two-day World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2017 which began in Bangkok on Wednesday, April 26, Bartlett explained: "Despite the fact that tourism is an industry that contributes largely to the GDP of many countries, less than one per cent of funding from international donor agencies is provided to the tourism industry. Commercial and development banks also have difficulties in understanding the tourism sector enough to provide financing to small and medium tourism entities - especially in the creative industries."
He added: "At the global conference, we will get the opportunity to further discuss with the relevant international donors as well as key participants representing various players in the industry, the best practices and the way forward to make tourism truly sustainable."
November's global conference will also seek to identify successful models and future partnership initiatives that will contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the publication of the second UNWTO Affiliate Members Global Report on Public-Private-Partnerships.
The declaration will also address tourism leakages that are crippling the industry both locally and globally. Bartlett explained that Jamaica has established a series of networks and capacity-building initiatives to combat the issue to allow the Jamaican people to benefit more from the sector.
However, internationally, UNWTO Secretary General Dr Taleb Rifai stated that "the leakages that we are seeing are the result of ignoring the capabilities of the local community to contribute to the investment - whether it is a foreign investment or local investment. Therefore, if we can encourage foreign investors to purchase locally, to hire locally then the leakages would be minimised".
Bartlett was a lead speaker among the more than 900 high-level figures in the travel and tourism industry from across the world who are attending the 2017 World Travel and Tourism Summit in Thailand.