Second Global Tourism Resilience Day Conference Very Timely – Minister Bartlett 

The conference will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on February 16 and 17, under the theme, “Navigating the Future of Tourism Resilience.” This significant event coincides with the first anniversary of the United Nations’ declaration of February 17 as Global Tourism Resilience Day annually, a milestone achieved through Jamaica‘s successful lobbying efforts led by Minister Bartlett.

He stated: “We would have seen first-hand the far-reaching impact of rising sea levels just a few days ago along Jamaica’s north coast as well as in other islands. Incidentally, the conference being in Montego Bay, which was also affected, provides a crucial opportunity to address issues related to climate change and resilience building in tourism. Now more than ever, we must unite to find sustainable solutions that safeguard our industry and destinations.”

The conference, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, UN Tourism (formerly the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO), and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), promises two days of insightful discussions, engaging panels, and distinguished speakers.

The conference kicks off with an Opening Ceremony featuring Keynote Speaker UN Tourism Secretary-General H.E. Zurab Pololikashvili. Day one will see several engaging panel discussions starting with a session on “Building Tourism ‘Digital’ Resilience.” The panel will explore the changing landscape of the tourism sector in the digital age. Participants will include Senator the Hon. Dr. Dana Morris Dixon, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Skills and Digital Transformation; Natalia Bayona, UN Tourism Executive Director; Mr. Cordel Green, Executive Director, Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica; Dr. Luz Longsworth, Senior Corporate Director, Sandals Corporate University; Mr. Dushyant Savadia, Founder and CEO, Amber Group, Mr. Devon Bryan, Chief Information Officer, Carnival Corporation as well as Mr. Eric Sutfin, Founder & CMSO – ZEAL.

This will be followed by a stimulating conversation on “Building Tourism ‘Infrastructure’ Resilience.” This session will focus on enhancing resilience in various tourism sectors. Speakers will include Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green; Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF); Wade Mars, Executive Director, Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo); Professor Andrew Spencer, President, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU); Ms. Alicia Montalvo, Manager of Climate Action and Positive Biodiversity, CAF – Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean and Mr. John Byles, Managing Partner at Chukka Caribbean Adventures.

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Additionally, there will be an insightful session on “Women in Tourism Resilience.” This thought-provoking panel will highlight the vital role of women in building tourism resilience. Speakers will include Ms. Jennifer Griffith, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism; Ms. Gloria Fluxà, Vice-Chair of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Chair of its Sustainability Committee; Ms. Sheila Johnson, Co-founder of BET, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts; Dr. Shakira Maxwell, Senior Research Fellow, Gender, Policy and Tourism Resilience Strategies, GTRCMC and Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control Division at the Caribbean Public Health Agency.

The fourth and final panel discussion will focus on “Funding Tourism Resilience” and will delve into international strategies for financing resilience building. Participants will include Minister Bartlett and his colleague Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke; Mrs. Nicola Madden-Greig, President, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; Mr. Oscar Avalle, Country Representative, El Salvador and Northern Caribbean, CAF; Mr. Ibrahim Ayoub, Director, International Tourism and Investment Conference; Ms. Nataliya Mylenko, Lead Economist for the Caribbean, World Bank and Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Ports for the Cayman Islands and Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

The second and final day will see the official observance of Global Tourism Resilience Day 2024, which will entail a Keynote presentation from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who will be joined by international speakers from Malaga, Spain, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia.

This will be followed by a high-level Ministerial Round Table with the UN Tourism Secretary-General, Mr. Pololikashvili and will include global representatives from the City of Malaga, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Brazil, Barbados, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Ministers Bartlett and Bryan will also be among those adding valuable insights to the discussions.

The conference concludes with the inaugural Global Tourism Resilience Awards Gala.

About the author

Linda Hohnholz