Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Stop promoting modern day plantations called exclusive resorts, says Rifai

Published:Tuesday | November 28, 2017 | 4:42 PMJanet Silvera
Taleb Rifai addressing the UNWTO Conference in Montego Bay. – Ashley Anguin Photo

Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai, has strongly urged Caribbean tourism stakeholders to stop promoting modern-day plantations called exclusive resorts.

He made the call in a no holds barred speech during day two of the UNWTO Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth, now on at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Rifai was obviously not concerned about ruffling feathers as he warned against the practice of building five-star resorts in three-star communities, where the citizens were not part of the transformation.

He insisted tourism stakeholders cannot continue to have their visitors in bubbles, where there are walls between the visitor and the community.

Rifai emphasised that it was not the model that the UNTWO was looking for.

According to him, the opportunities in tourism should carry the end result of inclusive economic growth, more decent jobs, the distribution of wealth, shared prosperity and respect for each other.

His comments were made in the presence of several all-inclusive hotel operators, the country’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, tourism minister Edmund Bartlett and several other dignitaries representing the industry.