Jamaica’s efforts to bolster resilience in global tourism by proposing the official designation of February 17th as Global Tourism Resilience Day annually has yielded great success, as the United Nations (UN) has officially ratified the move to facilitate its observance globally.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has been a global voice advocating for tourism resilience as a means of safeguarding the sector during times of crises that negatively impact the industry, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a signal honour for Jamaica which highlights the fact that our nation continues to have such significant influence on the international stage. This is very timely as the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still being felt and is causing a strain on many tourism-dependent states as they struggle to recover,” Minister Bartlett said in welcoming the UN’s decision.
He made a presentation on Global Tourism Resilience during the UN General Assembly meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on February 6.
“Global Tourism Resilience Day emphasises the importance of building tourism resilience across the world to fuel sustainable growth and development,” Bartlett added.
“This observance will aid in increasing the awareness and actions of global tourism stakeholders towards boosting the industry’s capacity to effectively handle and recover swiftly from major disruptions, such as pandemics, earthquakes and other natural disasters,” he underscored.
Bartlett has been playing a leading role in promoting the need for tourism dependent states, in particular, to be prepared for inevitable internal and external shocks and to have a body that they can look to for support that will aid them in recovering quickly. To this end he has spearheaded the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) and co-authored with University of the West Indies Professor Lloyd Waller, the book Tourism Resilience and Recovery for Global Sustainability and Development: Navigating COVID-19 and the Future.
The designation follows months of high-level discussions and diplomatic engagements. Bartlett officially launched Global Tourism Resilience Day during EXPO2020 Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on February 17, 2022. In September 2022 Prime Minister Andrew Holness also called for the official designation of February 17 as Global Tourism Resilience Day annually as he addressed the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Jamaica will officially recognise Global Tourism Resilience Day during the first ever Global Tourism Resilience Conference, which will be held from February 15-17, 2023 at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica.