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Tourism Ministry and ODPEM to Host Joint Disaster Risk Management Meeting

Release Date: 
Monday, March 24, 2014 - 16:30

Kingston, Jamaica: March 24, 2014 –   As part of an ongoing partnership with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to foster better disaster risk management in the tourism sector, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment will host the latest in a series of Tourism Emergency Management Committee (TEMC) meetings on Thursday, March 27, 2014. The meeting will be held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston and will begin at 10:00 a.m.

Tourism based private and public sector stakeholders across the various subsectors (accommodation, attractions, craft, shopping and transportation) are set to participate in the TEMC meeting, which will focus on Jamaica’s vulnerability to earthquakes, readiness for earthquakes and requirements for executing an Earthquake Simulation. The meeting is intended to equip participants to better prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from such natural and man-made hazards and threats which affect the local tourism industry.

In highlighting the importance of the initiative Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill emphasized that “natural disasters can have a tremendous impact on the travel trade and tourism-dependent economies like Jamaica, not only because of their negative impact on visitor numbers but also because of the harmful effect they have on our infrastructure and nearly every sector in the country, including the entire supply chain.”

“It is therefore crucial that we have meetings like these to ensure we have systems in place to reduce the impact of disasters such as earthquakes,” he stressed.

The main goal of the TEMC is to build the tourism sector’s resilience to multiple hazards and to identify and address the areas in which the sector is vulnerable. The Ministry currently has an emergency management framework in place that is linked to the national mechanism for the management of emergencies and disasters, which is coordinated by ODPEM.

The Ministry in turn operates the Tourism Emergency Operations Centre (TEOC) to facilitate a coordinated response to disasters for the sector. One of the main roles of the TEOC is that of liaising with ODPEM and assisting in the coordination of assistance to tourism entities as well as visitors in need of special attention or emergency care. The TEOC also sends regular updates, alerts, and emergency bulletins directly to tourism stakeholders.