Jamaica Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says a major outcome of the “UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism” being held in November in Montego Bay, Jamaica, will be the creation of a Montego Bay Declaration.
The Declaration will be used as a road map to strengthen public-private-partnerships and enhance donor funding and investor engagement, which will create the framework for more responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
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Speaking at the two-day World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit 2017 which began Bangkok on Wednesday, April 26, Minister Bartlett explained: “Despite the fact that tourism is an industry that contributes largely to the GDP of many countries, less than 1% of funding from international donor agencies is provided to the tourism industry. Commercial and development banks also have difficulties in understanding the tourism sector enough to provide financing to small and medium tourism entities – especially in the creative industries.”
He added, “At the global conference, we will get the opportunity to further discuss with the relevant international donors as well as key participants representing various players in the industry, the best practices and the way forward to make tourism truly sustainable.”
November’s global conference will also seek to identify successful models and future partnership initiatives that will contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the publication of the second UNWTO Affiliate Members Global Report on Public-Private-Partnerships.
The Declaration will also address tourism leakages that are crippling the industry both locally and globally. Minister Bartlett explained that Jamaica has established a series of networks and capacity building initiatives to combat the issue to allow the Jamaican people to benefit more from the sector.
However, internationally, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai stated that “the leakages that we are seeing are the result of ignoring the capabilities of the local community to contribute to the investment – whether it is a foreign investment or local investment. Therefore, if we can encourage foreign investors to purchase locally, to hire locally then the leakages would be minimized.”
Minister Bartlett is a lead speaker for the more than 900 high level figures in the travel and tourism industry from across the world who are attending the 2017 World Travel and Tourism Summit in Thailand. Former British Prime Minister, David Cameron; UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai; United States Travel Association President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Roger Dow; AirAsia CEO, Tony Fernandes; Travel Editor for CBS News, Peter Greenberg; President and CEO of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson; and President of Carnival Cruise Line, Christine Duffy are the other lead speakers.
Minister Bartlett participated in a press conference, jointly hosted by Secretary General of the UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai, and a representative from the World Bank Group. He is slated to return to Jamaica on April 29.