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KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 09, 2021: Minister of Tourism and Chair of the high-level Organization of American States (OAS) Working Group, Edmund Bartlett, is calling for continued exchange between Member States and industry to finalize a practical and dynamic recovery action plan, for the cruise and airline industries in the post-pandemic era.
These remarks were made yesterday (July 8), during a virtual meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR) Working Group, organized by the OAS.
“My call today is for the continued exchange between Member States and industry – we must hear all voices. I further urge an investigative approach to the proposed recommendations and tools for our region juxtaposed against similar tools and recommendations in other regions and the implications on interregional travel which is the mainstay of our tourism revenue,” said Minister Bartlett.
“A practical and dynamic recovery action plan requires a multi-dimensional approach to the various elements of recovery – harmonization of protocols, including bio-sanitary and entry protocols; sustainable tourism with consideration for the environment; successful public-private partnerships; increased investments and destination assurance. Such an approach should facilitate and promote a comprehensive, holistic, far-reaching, and effective plan to move us towards our goals,” he added.
Minister Bartlett is urging members to incorporate a practical and dynamic recovery action plan which uses a multi-dimensional approach to the various elements of recovery. This should focus on the harmonization of protocols, including bio-sanitary and entry protocols; sustainable tourism with consideration for the environment; successful public-private partnerships; increased investments and destination assurance.
“Such an approach should facilitate and promote a comprehensive, holistic, far-reaching and effective plan to move us towards our goals,” he said.
During the meeting, Jamaica participated by offering an update on the work being done by the Working Group. So far, the Group has decided on its Terms of Reference and guidelines, with the decision to engage a consultant to consider the rapidly evolving situation with the pandemic and devise recommended strategies to aid Member States and industry players on the road to recovery.
They also highlighted challenges faced in the recovery of the cruise and airline industries, such as the new and more contagious variants emerging that confound ongoing efforts regarding the original and earlier strains; as well as struggles faced by some tourism-dependent economies that depend heavily on vaccine penetration as well as border normalization in source countries.
‘As we have stressed vaccine equity in this forum, we can appreciate the implications for a country like Jamaica with only approximately 9% of its population vaccinated (249,983 vaccinations as of 2 July). If Caribbean vaccination programmes lag, then travellers may avoid these destinations until a critical threshold of these populations are vaccinated,” said Minister Bartlett.
“This ties in the promotion of domestic tourism which has been an emerging feature and tool to offset the losses for international arrivals. Whereas we are aware that some of our domestic tourism markets can hardly compete with international tourist arrivals, we must consider that our source markets are also considering domestic tourism/travel close to home models which have implications for our region’s short and long-term recovery prospects,” he added.
Minister Bartlett also asked all representatives in the meeting to observe a moment of silence for the late Haitian President, His Excellency Jovenel Moïse, following his tragic passing.
The working group is one of four, which were announced during the second special session of the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR) held on August 14, 2020, to facilitate the effective and timely recovery of the travel and tourism sectors.
The first meeting of the Bartlett-Chaired group took place on December 10, 2020, with representatives from various international bodies and countries in the region, including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Honduras, Peru and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Group has also seen active participation from the industry players with updates from IATA, CLIA, ACI World, UNWTO and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre.
The Organization of American States is the premier regional forum for political discussion, policy analysis and decision-making in Western Hemisphere affairs. It dates back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890.
The Working Group will take a recess during the month of August to resume with its ninth meeting on September 9, 2021.