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KINGSTON, Jamaica; June 23, 2022: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has called for the development of a special growth strategy for Commonwealth countries to help them recover from the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was speaking during the just concluded Commonwealth Business Forum 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, which focused on Sustainable Tourism and Travel.
The Minister noted that “tourism is the lifeline of Commonwealth countries located in the world’s most tourism dependent regions, including the Caribbean.” He added that “the formulation of a post-COVID-19 economic recovery and growth strategy for commonwealth countries would be a gamechanger.”
The Tourism Minister stressed however, that for Commonwealth nations it would “require that they urgently rethink the existing framework of economic partnership with the goal of realigning it with the boundaries of international trade in their favour.”
Mr. Bartlett said that the move will “contribute to more value-added economic exchanges among smaller countries and with larger countries of the Commonwealth,” noting too that “this will enhance their intra-regional capacity to generate economic surpluses and retain more of the benefits derived from microeconomic development.”
Mr. Bartlett also urged Commonwealth countries to take proactive steps to foster greater tourism and trade convergences in order to reap economic benefits. This as Minister Bartlett expressed concern that despite the development of tourism over the years, Commonwealth states are yet to reap the real rewards.
He explained that the tourism industry has the potential to significantly boost economic convergence among Commonwealth countries, noting however that despite “the phenomenal pace of tourism growth and expansion over the years, it has delivered insufficient benefits to commonwealth states.”
He outlined that most Commonwealth countries are exporting mainly to states located in their immediate geographic zones, adding that this has “prevented them from retaining much of the revenues generated from the tourism industry.” This he laments, is contributing to low levels of tourism trade with larger economies.
Mr. Bartlett underscored that fostering greater economic convergences among Commonwealth countries could aid in accelerating the economic development of the Commonwealth, which collectively constitutes a sizable market based on the world’s population. He noted also that this can be leveraged to promote growth in the area of export trade.