Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism, its public bodies and industry partners will highlight the importance of the sector to economic development and invite stakeholders to rethink how they approach tourism in a post-COVID-19 pandemic world, through the observance of Tourism Awareness Week (TAW) 2022, from September 25 – October 1.
The week will be observed under the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) theme for World Tourism Day (September 27) – “Rethinking Tourism”. The theme highlights the shift towards tourism being recognised as a crucial pillar of development.
“Amid the uncertainties that have characterized the current post-COVID-19 period, an unprecedented opportunity has been presented for us to rethink strategies for building the resilience of Jamaica’s tourism industry,” said Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, in underscoring the importance of the theme.
“The ministry has always advocated for a sector that is economically sustainable, socially inclusive and environmentally friendly; however, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated our commitment to rethinking tourism to maximise its contribution to the social and economic well-being of the nation and its citizens,” he added.
Bartlett noted also that the tourism sector is “the single largest contributor to GDP, the main source of foreign revenues and one of the country’s main sources of exports” adding that “overall, the tourism sector has grown by 36 per cent over the past 30 years against total economic growth of 10 per cent.”
The tourism minister revealed that the “rethinking of Jamaica’s tourism is being guided by our Blue Ocean Strategy, which is playing a leading role in revitalising Jamaica’s tourism industry. It calls for the creation of business models that depart from traditional ones based on competition and standardisation.”
Director of Tourism, Donovan White endorsed the point.
“As a destination, using the key premises of the Blue Ocean Strategy framework, we have shifted our strategic focus to one of enhanced value-creation through product differentiation and diversification,” he said. “We are opening up new markets and creating new demand in uncontested market spaces instead of going down the well-trodden path and competing in saturated markets.”
Tourism Awareness Week will begin with a Thanksgiving Church Service at the Montego Bay New Testament Church of God, St James on Sunday, September 25. The day will also see the latest instalment of the Virtual Edmund Bartlett Lecture Series, which will be hosted by the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) and is open to all individuals, particularly tourism stakeholders.
A Tourism Opportunities Visionary Symposium is scheduled for World Tourism Day (Tuesday, September 27). This event will see international speakers being invited to speak on the future opportunities for tourism, new frontiers being explored and trailblazers on the front lines.
A Youth Forum has been organised for Wednesday, September 28, and will involve two panel discussions with industry stakeholders to discuss the way ahead as the world considers what tourism will look like in the future.
Other activities include a Style Jamaica Runway Show on Monday, September 26; a special virtual Knowledge Forum on Thursday, September 29; the official launch of the Tourism Innovation Incubator on Friday, September 30; school speaking engagements from Monday, September 26 to Friday, September 30; a youth poster competition; and the roll-out of an Online Tourism Resource Guide.