Our world has been plunged in unprecedented times as we seek to address and effectively manage the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our daily lives. As such, we are compelled to “stop, look, and listen” in order to chart a new course towards effective recovery and sustainable development.
The travel and tourism sector has been hard-hit with the first quarter of 2020 and current projections showing the worst results for international tourism since 1950 and abruptly ending a 10-year period of sustained growth since the 2009 financial crisis.
In the light of approximately 90% of Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) being generated in coastal areas, a sustainable ocean offers a viable option for economic and tourism recovery plans.
In this regard, I welcome this year’s theme for the United Nations World Oceans Day – “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”- being celebrated on 8 June 2020. It has become increasingly clear that innovation facilitated by technology and digital transformative tools will be instrumental in advancing small island developing states (SIDS) such as Jamaica towards developed status.
This concept of a “new normal” fueled by innovation will push solutions for tourism recovery will see a deeper diversification in geographic source markets and non-traditional tourism products; deeper linkages within and across sectors; training and development of tourism workers and a greater focus on resilience and sustainable tourism.
Oceans and seas cover two-thirds of Earth’s surface, with an estimated 80% of the volume of world trade transported by sea. With this consideration and reaffirming our belief that nature promotes sustainable solutions, the blue economy has an important role to play in the immediate and long-term recovery of the global economy.
Jamaica shares a special affinity with oceans and seas beyond being a Small Island Developing State, recalling the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay in 1982. As host of the International Seabed Authority, Jamaica continues to reaffirm its commitment to multilateralism and collaborative responses to disruptive shocks that threaten sustainable development – no one should be left behind.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, Corporate Communications, 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Tel: 920-4926-30, Fax: 920-4944