The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, which will be established in Jamaica to deal with climate-related issues, is expected to be fully operational by next year.
This was disclosed by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, at the opening ceremony for the Organisational Development Transformation Conference, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on June 20.
“We are looking at ensuring that by September of this year, we will have a soft launch and in January 2019… we will officially launch to the world the first ever and revolutionary Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre,” the Minister said.
First announced during the United Nations World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO) Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism in St. James in November 2017, the centre, which is the first of its kind, will be tasked with creating, producing and generating toolkits, guidelines and policies to handle the recovery process following a disaster.
To be based at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, the facility will include a Sustainable Tourism Observatory, which will assist with preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods.
“(Senior Advisor), Dr. Lloyd Waller and I will go to the University of the West Indies on Friday (June 22), to identify the space that has been provided to house this centre, and on Saturday (June 23), we leave for Jordan where we will meet with the former Secretary General of the UNWTO… and to finalise the arrangement with the former Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, to become critical players in this new construct,” he said.
Mr. Bartlett noted that already, “we have partners on every continent,” adding that five academic institutions are also showing interest in the centre.
They include the University of the West Indies, Queensland University in Australia, Hong Kong Polytechnic, Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom, and George Washington in the United States of America.
The Minister said partnerships have also been formalised with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
Mr. Bartlett added that further partnerships are being explored with a number of players within the airline and cruise sectors.
He emphasised that the centre is critical, as while the tourism sector has traditionally been very resilient, it is also one of the most vulnerable to disruptions, such as natural disasters, terrorism, political upheaval, and economic downturns.
The conference, which runs until June 22, is being held under the theme ‘Organisation Development (OD) Impacting Our World –Triple Bottom Line: Purpose, People and Planet’.