Tue | Sep 18, 2018

More than 300 already registered for UNWTO confab

Published:Thursday | November 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM

As Jamaica puts the finishing touches to a broad-based plan to host the world's first global conference, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett announced on Tuesday that more 300 participants from 60 countries have already registered to attend the November event.

He made the announcement at a press conference at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry to update western Jamaica on the progress of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Government of Jamaica, World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank Global Conference on 'Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism', to be held November 27-29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.

"This global conference will position Jamaica as a destination that has the capacity to do big events and to do them well," said Bartlett.

With four weeks to go before the opening of the three-day conference, the tourism minister is satisfied that all the elements have come together as scheduled and are now being fine-tuned for "the most ambitious project that we have undertaken as a Ministry of Tourism ever".

With the islands of the Caribbean being some of the most tourism dependent in the world, the conference has been positioned to speak to making the industry more impactful on the economies of the region.

Bartlett said consideration must be given to making these countries stronger as a result of tourism and move away from being among the most indebted in the world with an average debt-to-GDP ratio that is close to 100 per cent.

Bartlett said "This conference is going to redefine Destination Jamaica as the centre where the world can come on an annual basis to cerebrate on matters relating to the development of tourism, but more importantly, to help to build out a strategy for job creation and inclusive growth."

Among a list of high-profile speakers confirmed for the conference are president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina; Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness; Alexandre Rosa, vice-president for countries, Inter-American Development Bank; Luisa Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States; James Scriven, CEO of the Inter-American Investment Corporation; President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council Gloria Guevara Manzo, and UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai.