Task force established to help recovery of Haiti’s tourism from quake
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
A tourism resilience, recovery and sustainability task force has been established to render assistance to Haiti's tourism industry arising from the impact of the recent devastating 7.2 earthquake.
Jamaica's Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) is leading the process.
A preliminary assessment of immediate needs is estimated at US$150 million, with water being the most urgent at this time, said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, who heads the task force and is the co-founder of the centre.
Bartlett indicated that there has been a strong response from tourism partners to the work of the task force.
Toiletries, bedding, medication and food head a long list of necessities, which Bartlett said several partners have pledged to provide.
“The mandate of the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre is to respond to disruptions which impact tourism and tourism activities and stakeholders globally,” he said, noting that the quake has upended several tourism stakeholders and workers in Haiti.
Among other things, the task force will seek to engage with key global tourism players – business, government and civil society – to identify solutions to facilitate Haiti's immediate-to-long term tourism product.
“The swiftness with which this earthquake has devastated sections of Haiti has made it imperative that we act quickly to help restore some level of normalcy. We also recognise that for a stronger recovery, we need to identify what solutions will be necessary to mitigate the negative impact of seismic disruptions on the Haitian tourism product and tourism-dependent stakeholders,” said Bartlett.
The task force includes Haiti's tourism minister, Kassandra Francois, chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and Minister of Tourism for Barbados, Senator Lisa Cummings, tourism minister for Saudi Arabia Ahmed Khateeb, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Clifton Reader, Sandals Foundation's Adam Stewart, Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association's Nicola Madden Greig, Professor Lloyd Waller and Global Rescue's Dan Richards.
The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Frank Elias Rainieri, chairman and founder of Grupo Puntacana, Dionisio James D'Aguila, Minister of Tourism and Aviation for the Bahamas, and Wilfred Baghaloo, Managing Director for Deals, Southern Cluster for PwC Tax complete the group.
“The organisations that will be collaborating on this task force will prove to be extremely beneficial to the recovery efforts for Haiti,” said Waller, who is the executive director of the tourism crisis centre.
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