Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett makes a case for helping Africa’s tourism stating the Caribbean is in a position to help.
The need to ensure the resilience of tourism, given its importance as a key driver of economic growth, has been highlighted by Former Prime Minister and Statesman-in-Residence at the PJ Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy, University of the West Indies (UWI), The Most Hon. Percival James Patterson.
The former Prime Minister, who among other portfolio responsibilities also served as Minister of Tourism, was keynote speaker at today’s opening session of the African Caribbean Tourism Summit at the inaugural Global Tourism Resilience Conference, being held at the UWI Regional Headquarters, Mona.
Mr. Patterson highlighted opportunities arising from the industry and the importance of building on the historical link between the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. Mindful of the era pre and post the COVID-19 pandemic, he said there was absolutely no doubt to the urgency of pushing forward with mobilizing the African and Caribbean Diaspora in the fields of trade, investment, science, sport, culture and entertainment.
In that regard, Mr. Patterson said:
“To find lasting economic solutions we must look to one of the key drivers of growth, tourism, and we must do so across Africa, the entire continent, and in the Caribbean.”
With the decline of most traditional crops in Africa and the Caribbean, “tourism has become, for most of us, the cornerstone on which we are endeavoring to build sound economies (and) given its magnetic link to agriculture, to manufacturing and the inseparable connections with the creative industries, entertainment and services, tourism has become the pillar on which sustainable growth and accelerated development must now depend,” noted Mr. Patterson.
He also noted that African countries possessed varied appeals. Mr. Patterson outlined that with proper planning and effective marketing there would be a growing demand to visit African destinations and this could benefit the Caribbean through shared vacations and with the creation of a fertile ground for people-to-people contact and increasing airlift and charter flights between both regions.
He posited that the strengthening of South-South collaboration for growth in tourism rested on the two inextricably linked pillars of training and technology. With the pandemic having put greater pressure on the tourism sector with the loss of workers, Mr. Patterson stressed that “the skillsets needed to push the industry forward require training quickly and intensively.” He indicated that this was an area in which Jamaica and the Caribbean could offer support to African countries now building and expanding their tourism industry.
While sharing similar concerns, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, noted the serious damage inflicted by the pandemic on Africa adding that with the continent looking to tourism to drive recovery, the Caribbean was in a position to help.
“They are the new frontier for they are learning the art of entertainment and utilizing the culture to add value to their economic well-being, and the Caribbean can help.”
Mr. Bartlett added, “We can also be the bridge head to the richest and most lucrative market for tourism in the world, North America.”
The historic Global Tourism Resilience Conference is being attended by several tourism ministers from African and Caribbean countries and Minister Bartlett, who co-chairs the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, said the Caribbean partners should use the conference “as a platform for the beginning of that convergence that will bring Africa and the Caribbean together to move into the market that they want.”
He noted, however, that while Africa was open to receiving more, the Caribbean also had the capacity to receive even more from Africa and the conference would explore how there could be a full interchange and create areas of convergence in various aspects of tourism activities.
SEEN IN IMAGE: image courtesy of I, Jeffrey O. Gustafson, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia
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Corporate Communications Division
Ministry of Tourism
64 Knutsford Boulevard
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Tourism
64 Knutsford Boulevard
Tel: 920-4926-30, ext.: 5990
Cell: (876) 505-6118