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KINGSTON, Jamaica; June 18, 2020: Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett, today chaired the high level 65th meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Commission for the Americas (CAM). During the virtual session he led a team of 22 Member States from across the Americas, in high-level discussions to develop a strategy for sustainable growth, as some tourism industries across the globe, prepare for the recovery period from the economic and social impact experienced, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our governments stand at this most critical juncture to “stop, look, listen and pivot”. That is we must, assess the situation; craft strategic policies and responses; monitor the effective implementation of these policies; and prepare ourselves to further adjust and creatively manage vital developments vis-à-vis COVID-19,” said Minister Bartlett.
He also provided an update on Jamaica’s tourism sector, sharing that: “Border re-openings and re-engagement with the international community are necessary to advance national and global recovery. In this regard, Jamaica welcomed tourists to re-discover our island, earlier this week on 15 June.”
He added that “the Jamaican Government rests confident that it has considered all relevant precautionary measures, including the adoption of necessary workplace protocols as well as tailored protocols for the tourism industry.”
During the meeting the Minister was joined by the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, who expressed that: “The temporary suspension of tourism has had a significant impact on the Americas. This meeting showed the shared determination to grow back stronger and better once the conditions allow.”
He noted that: “Sustainability and innovation will be at the heart of tourism’s recovery, both in the Americas and in every other global region. The sector’s return to growth will be a lifeline for many millions of people across the Americas while also helping protect and promote the region’s many cultures and natural heritage.”
The virtual meeting was the second held since March. It also included a presentation of the UNWTO’s joint project with the IFC (International Finance Corporation) called the “Green Investments for Sustainable Tourism” initiative. According to the UNWTO, this project was designed to “promote more investment in the greening of the sector, with a special emphasis on hospitality and on small-and-medium-sized businesses.”
The Regional Commissions typically meet once per year to allow member states to maintain contact with each other and with the UNWTO Secretariat between sessions of the bi-annual General Assembly. Jamaica is one of the four English speaking Caribbean Member States of the UNWTO and currently chairs the CAM for the biennium 2019-2021.