Bartlett Calls for Empathetic Leadership during COVID-19 Pandemic

Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for global policymakers to implement a more empathetic leadership style, while also remaining cautiously optimistic about the future of the industry.

The Minister was speaking yesterday at the A World for Travel virtual international event, which focused on the recovery and the development of global travel and tourism activities.

“Empathetic leadership during this time cannot be sufficiently stressed. It allowed for greater understanding of the people on whose behalf I worked, greater connection with the structure of teams, as well as for my colleagues and other leaders. It is important too that, as leaders, we create space for others to demonstrate empathy towards us. These are trying times and togetherness for strength is useful,” said the Minister.

“A hallmark of leadership and highly relevant in times of crisis is the ability to remain cautiously optimistic – without spiralling into doom and gloom – is necessary in these times,” he added.

When asked about how governments help and what policies could support a quicker recovery of the sector, beyond the use of stimulus packages, the Minister noted that to ensure effective recovery post-pandemic, one has to re-imagine the product, service, market and responses.

“Having considered our market and our packages, the promotion of the destination will flow along similar thoughts. In this new normal, people are motivated to “live their best lives” and we must ensure that our partners and stakeholders have bought into the relevant plans to foster alignment and harmony in the implementation for success,” he said.

In addition, Minister Bartlett noted that COVID-19 has placed the spotlight on the marginalized in society and the sector. “In this regard, inclusion has been equally highlighted as a tool for emerging from this pandemic, possibly bent but not broken, Inclusiveness along all links in the chain – supply, marketing, delivery – will become indispensable, especially as we remain committed to the Sustainable Development Agenda,” he said.

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The Minister was speaking on a panel moderated by Guillaume Thibault, Partner at leading international management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, discussing the topic “Leadership in the times of Covid-19”.

He was joined by Gloria Guevara, President  & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council; H.E. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State for Tourism, France, and Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association

Other speakers at the event included Hon. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General, United Nations World Tourism Organization; Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism, Portugal and Ramzi Khoury, Head of News, ROYA TV.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, Corporate Communications, 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Tel: 920-4926-30, Fax: 920-4944

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Linda Hohnholz