Tue | Feb 19, 2019

Use tourism’s success model to spur other sectors – PM Holness

Published:Friday | February 1, 2019 | 1:32 PM

WESTERN BUREAU:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is urging Jamaica’s policymakers to study the factors behind the rapid growth in the nation’s tourism industry and apply those principles to underperforming sectors.

In delivering the keynote address at Tuesday’s official launch of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre in Montego Bay, Holness said the suggested approach would help Jamaica to recover whenever there is a natural disaster or other types of fallout.

“For Jamaica, over the last 10 years, our data show that our tourism industry grew by 36 per cent, while the rest of the overall economy grew by six per cent,” said Holness. “Our economy has grown back to what it was in 2009, at the start of the recession, but tourism has grown leaps and bounds since then.

“For policymakers, it is important that we study this phenomenon, understand it, and that we properly document and assimilate it and mainstream it into our priorities to ensure that whatever kind of disaster may affect us, we can actually recover,” added Holness.

The prime minister further noted that, globally, tourism has always been able to recover swiftly despite being extremely vulnerable to economic, geographical, and other challenges.

“Of all major industries globally, arguably none faces greater exposure to disruptive forces than the hyperconnected tourism sector. The irony of the tourism industry, however, is that the sector has also displayed its uncanny ability to recover quickly, so there’s just something about tourism that is resilient,” said Holness.

LESSONS TO LEARN

“I am interested in the work that is going to be done by the resilience centre, not just for tourism, but more importantly, what lessons other industries can learn about the speed of recovery after a disaster and building protocols to ensure that we have resilience,” added Holness.

The mission of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, which is based at The University of the West Indies’ Mona campus, is to assist global tourism destinations with preparedness and management, as well as recovery from crises that impact tourism and threaten economies.

The centre’s work will include climate change and disaster-preparedness training, security and cybersecurity testing, and entrepreneurial management.