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Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett and Mr. Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer of The Jamaica National Group (JN Group) yesterday, July 26, 2017, signed an agreement under which the JN Group will provide planning, management and execution services for mounting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development Conference, from November 27 to 29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James.
Minister Bartlett was speaking at the signing ceremony, during the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston. The Tourism Minister said that this is the first time in the history of the UNWTO that the private and public sectors will be working together, in collaboration with multi-lateral financial institutions, to stage an event of this nature. The event is also of great historical importance because it signals the first time that the UNWTO will stage a world conference on tourism in the Caribbean or Americas.
“The conference in November will address an imbalance in the global funding of tourism activities and development,” Minister Bartlett underlined. “Despite the powerhouse impact that tourism is having on the world economy, there is a disproportionate flow of funding and financing, and this is happening, although 80 percent of tourism is driven by small and medium countries.”
The World Bank Group and donor countries, through their specific investment arms, are participating in the conference through panels that will explore various areas of sustainability; and, how projects and financing can be generated for small and medium players in the global tourism sector.
The Minister said the main outcome of the conference will be the Declaration of Montego Bay, which will inform the next millennial goals of the United Nations and form the basis of the next major publication of the UNWTO’s Sustainable Development strategies.
He congratulated The JN Group for the role that it has played in the growth and development of the Jamaican economy and acknowledged that the company will be responsible for managing the logistics of the conference.
Earl Jarrett said his company decided to undertake this project because JN is vested in the development of Jamaica. “The JN Group comprises 30 companies, one of which is the MCS Group, and our team of professionals has the experience, knowledge and skills to deliver a successful conference. We are proud to have been selected by the Ministry and are confident that our team will be equal to the task.”
Managing Director of the MCS Group, Ms Onika Miller, noted, “We welcome the opportunity to participate in this public-private sector partnership, working with the Ministry of Tourism and other government and tourism partners, who are serving on the many conference planning committees. Strong partnerships such as this can help our nation to meet growth targets and national development goals”. She pointed out that the JN team will be responsible for project and event management, communication, branding and coordination of volunteers.