Jamaica will host a high-level policy forum of the Organisation of American States (OAS) from July 20-21, to focus on safeguarding the region’s tourism sector from disruptions, including a looming recession.
“It relates primarily to building resilience among the small and medium-sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) to withstand disasters and external shocks,” said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett in emphasising the significance of the meeting
He also noted that the “capacity building initiative will go a far way as we seek to future-proof the sector” from an impending recession and other future shocks that the industry may face.
“We need to be able to develop our capacity to respond to it,” said Bartlett.
Stressing that the Caribbean’s dependence on tourism “is impatient of any discussion with regards to the need for this kind of resilience building,” the tourism minister pointed out that if the SMTEs are not able to manage the looming recession, the tourism industry will feel the full effects.
SMTEs, he noted, represent 80 per cent of industry stakeholders.
Minister Bartlett said the OAS meeting will provide tools to countries under its umbrella to help them better manage disruptions, including those of the climatic and economic type.
He said the two-day meeting will “showcase Jamaica as being one of the countries that have done extremely well in preparing its stakeholders for disasters, as per the pandemic,” among other things. It will entail discussions on issues such as the barriers and challenges facing small tourism enterprises, crisis communication, business continuity planning tools and the establishment of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).
The Minister outlined that the high-level discussion is being sponsored by the OAS with the support of the United States of America, and will see numerous countries being represented at the event, which will be held at the Holiday Inn in Montego Bay. The event is being organised in collaboration with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
Minister Bartlett was recently elected chairman of the OAS Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR). The upcoming meeting of high-level delegates is one of the first items on the agenda during his chairmanship.
The OAS is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States in October 1889 to April 1890 in Washington, DC.