Major tourism stakeholders in the Caribbean have thrown their support behind a move to designate February 17 as Global Tourism Resilience Day. They are hoping the rest of the world will come on board to make this an annual, worldwide event.
President of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig and Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Kenneth Bryan who is also Minister of Tourism for the Cayman Islands, have joined Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett in the initiative.
“As the Caribbean is well-known to be the most tourism-dependent region on earth, having both CHTA and CTO join the call to support Global Tourism Resilience Day is critical to our efforts to build the sector back stronger,” said Bartlett. “Their participation in the three-day summit to be held in Jamaica this coming February 2023 to celebrate the Day will also be a very welcome one.”
The announcement comes on the heels of hurricanes Fiona and Ian which caused damage to sections of Puerto Rico and South Florida. Before that, the sector was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must now truly harness the power of our knowledge, our human capital and resources to overcome our challenges,” said CHTA President Nicola Madden-Grieg.
Industry players have steadily maintained that while the tourism sector is resilient and already well on the road to recovery from these recent disruptions, obstacles will continue to arise. For this reason, destination preparedness and management are seen as imperative.
“We are stronger when unified and I support Minister Bartlett’s call to focus on tourism resilience in the Caribbean. To mitigate the worst case scenario, we must be proactive and deliberate. This will require support from political leaders in enacting the necessary legislation to adequately prepare for disasters of all types,” said the CTO’s Bryan.
The CHTA and CTO’s support comes in the wake of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s call, during the September 22 session of the United Nations General Assembly, for the observation of Global Tourism Resilience Day.
In line with the prime minister’s recommendation, Bartlett has further proposed support for the establishment of a Global Resilience Fund. This fund would help destinations deemed highly vulnerable to disruptions, both natural and man-made, but with insufficient financial capacity to prepare for and quickly recover from these episodes.
Both the proposed observance of a Global Tourism Resilience Day and the Fund would be designed to help build a more resilient and sustainable tourism industry worldwide.