Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Seeks Global Support for Resilience Fund
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is calling on the global community to support a tourism resilience fund to help countries cope with disruptions like pandemics.
Speaking with CNN’s Richard Quest, Minister Bartlett stated that the fund’s resources would come from tourists, who would make voluntary contributions – similar to leaving a tip – when they visit countries and thereby help further the goals of resilience and sustainability.
“This is a very innovative approach,” Minister Bartlett said, explaining that the money will be used “for mitigation, for adaptation, for the development of capacity within countries to know more about disruptions – how to track them, how to mitigate against them, how to manage them when they come, and then how to recover and recover quickly and then to thrive afterwards.”
Minister Bartlett noted that the fund has a dual role in developing the capacity and physical infrastructure to enable a quick response to various types of disruptions. He mentioned that countries like Japan have been able to bounce back quickly after disruptions, while others, such as Haiti, are still struggling to recover from earthquakes and other disruptions even after 20 years.
The Jamaica minister highlighted that the tourism resilience fund would not be subjected to multilateral stringencies and rules, which can be challenging for poorer countries. He proposed that every visitor who comes to the country would contribute immediately, and the fund would go into the country’s coffers “for that purpose and that purpose only, we hope.”
Minister Bartlett told Quest that Jamaica has been able to bounce back from the pandemic thanks to the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and its ability to quickly establish protocols to manage the pandemic.
The recently concluded Global Tourism Resilience Conference, held from February 15-17, 2023, at the UWI Regional Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, ended with a major declaration recognizing the importance of building tourism resilience to safeguard the sustainability of the industry globally.
The declaration formally recommends the establishment of a global tourism resilience fund to support tourism-dependent nations in periods of disruption. The fund was proposed by Minister Bartlett as global tourism stakeholders and policymakers commemorated the first official Global Tourism Resilience Day on February 17.
The proposed fund will provide support to individual destinations in responding to their own crises and disasters. Each country will manage its own tourism resilience fund and employ the resources to enforce its tourism resilience, thus guaranteeing the sustainability of international travel and tourism.