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Tourism Resilience and Crisis Centre being leveraged by global stakeholders says Bartlett

Published:Saturday | June 27, 2020 | 12:00 AMJIS
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett.

(JIS): Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) is being leveraged by stakeholders around the world in an effort to drive the industry’s full reopening and recovery from COVID-19.

The centre, which was established in 2018 and is based at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona in St. Andrew, is mandated to enhance the capacity and capabilities of global tourism destinations to prepare for, manage and swiftly recover from crises or disruptions to the sector.

Speaking at the opening of the latest Edmund Bartlett Lecture Series, held virtually on Thursday, Bartlett emphasised that the centre is important, in light of projections of a two per cent monthly contraction in global economic growth, and a one to two per cent decline in international tourism arrivals, which, he noted, could result in lost earnings totalling between US$30 million and US$50 million, if the pandemic persists.

The lecture was hosted under the theme ‘Managing the Hurricane Season in the Shadow of the Coronavirus Pandemic’.

Bartlett said that in keeping with its mandate, the centre’s representatives have already engaged in several COVID-19-related activities.

These, he said, include their participation in several task force initiatives; global thought leadership activities that incorporates webinars, lectures and newspaper articles focused on the industry’s future; as well as a tourism workers awareness campaign highlighting COVID-19 safeguards. Representatives have also engaged in data management and documentation of regional COVID-19-related activities; and establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework for post-COVID-19 reopening exercises across various regions. 

Cooperation with Kenya 

The tourism minister said, in the case of the latter, the GTRCMC will be working with the Government of Kenya and other African nations in their efforts to this end.

This programmed intervention, he further indicated, results from the completion of a study by the Centre’s satellite office in Kenya on the pandemic’s impact on travel and tourism, measures taken and the recovery pathways.

“The report has [been] handed over to the National Tourism Crisis Steering Committee, composed of key stakeholders in tourism and related areas from the public and private sectors,” the Minister noted.

Bartlett said other scheduled engagements include establishing a tourism resilience journal, which is slated to be launched on August 10 and additional webinars and lectures, such as Thursday’s forum.

Webinar participants examined the 2020 forecast for severe weather events and analysed governments’ capacity to effectively prepare and manage, against the background of anticipated changes for a post-COVID-19 global economy and its recovery.

Among the presenters were Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Disaster Risk Reduction, Recovery and Resilience Team, Ronald Jackson; Assistant Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Lisa Indar; and Global Director, Consumer Industry Weather and Climate Strategy, IBM Services, Paul Walsh.

“I look forward to not just impact in terms of the ideas that [will] flow, but the activities that will ensue thereafter. It’s very important for us to be able to activate on our ideas and to implement effective measures that will inure to the growth and thriving capabilities of our destinations,” Bartlett said.

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