The GTRCM, as the newly established institution will be known, is a first-of-its-kind tourism resource dedicated to policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally.
The Centre was unveiled on Wednesday, January 30, by Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where the 2019 Caribbean Travel Marketplace and the “Second Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises” concurrently is taking place this week.
“Of all the major industries globally, none face greater exposure to disruptions as the tourism industry, but it also proven again and again that it has the greatest capacity for recovery,” said the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who was in attendance to mark the opening of the Centre. “I am very pleased that Jamaica is leading this initiative and that, in the spirit of true collaboration and partnership, tourism in all nations will benefit from the strategic solutions emerging from the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre.”
“It is my great joy to inaugurate the first-ever Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre,” said Min. Bartlett, in his remarks. “Last year, more than 1.4 billion overnight visitors travelled internationally. And, here in the Caribbean, we received more than 30 million travelers in 2018. But with more tourist arrivals, we must also be proactive by creating the capacity to deal with global challenges facing our world today, particularly those related to safety and security. The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre will focus heavily on the critical elements that will make Jamaica and the Caribbean among the safest destinations in the world.”
The Centre will be led by Jamaica and its neighboring Caribbean nations, however it will draw expertise from around the world, focusing on four core areas of challenge:
Climate change and disaster management;
Security and cybersecurity;
Entrepreneurial management and data analytics; and
Pandemic and epidemic management.
The initiative will be based out of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, and has already established itself among domestic and international policymakers and practitioners at all levels of government, private and non-profit sectors, and academia.
Dr. Taleb Rifai, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, serves as the Centre’s co-chairman. Among other responsibilities, he will oversee a coalition of academic partners including: Queensland University in Australia; The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom; Northeastern University and George Washington University in the United States; in addition to the University of the West Indies, and the International University of Japan.
“The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre that is being unveiled today is about travel and tourism,” said Dr. Rifai. “But first and foremost, The Centre is really about people, and keeping them safe. We believe that Jamaica, our friends in the Caribbean, and the rest of the world will benefit from the research, best practices and benchmarks that will emerge from this important effort.”
To date, partnerships have been formalized with World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Travel Corporation, the Jamaica National Group, Mediterranean Tourism from Malta, Pacific Tourism Authority in Bangkok, the Tourism International Conference of Mauritius, the Crisis Management and Resilience Council in London, and Global Rescue, among others.
A video with additional information about The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre can be found here.