Jamaica has agreed host the 2017 to host a major conference to commemorate the 2017 United Nations World Tourism Organization’s UNWTO International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The event, which is a collaborative effort between the Government of Jamaica, international development firm Chemonics International and the UNWTO, will take place from November 27-29at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Palacio Neptuno in Spain, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett expressed that he was honored to formulate the arrangements to host the event in Jamaica.
“This signing will see an international conference of great magnitude and importance to global tourism, being hosted in Jamaica,” said Bartlett. We look forward to showcasing our destination but more so within the context of sustainability and the building of public-private-partnerships.”
Secretary General of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai said that the conference will kick-start discussions to create on-the-ground activities to develop tourism across the globe.
“We keep talking about the need for public-private-partnerships, but we fail to translate that on the ground in any effective manner,” said General Rifai. “Minister Bartlett together with Ibrahim Osta, Chief of Party for Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism at Chemonics International, will together cooperate in making and designing this very important meeting in Jamaica towards the end of this year.”
The agreement signals the first time that the UNWTO will stage a world conference on tourism in the Caribbean or the Americas.
Bartlett, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of Affiliate Members of the UNWTO, described the event as a unique opportunity which will draw the world’s spotlight upon Jamaica, and by extension the Caribbean.
“Jamaica is a part of the Caribbean archipelago of states which is the most tourism-dependent region on earth,” he said. “It means therefore, that to be positioned to invite the world to see us in the practice of sustainability tendencies, embracing best practices, and showcasing how we have been able to manage, and grow and build the economic well-being of our people is something, that for us is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Two of the expected deliverables from this conference will be an Outcome Declaration and the publication of the second UNWTO Affiliate Members Global Report on Public-Private-Partnerships.
The UNWTO will also present a report to the U.N. General Assembly in 2018, with regards to the activities of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
At the meeting prior to the signing, Bartlett highlighted the great strides Jamaica has made in forming public-private-partnerships in the spirit of sustainable tourism for development through the Tourism Linkages Network model.
“Tourism is the fastest way to transfer money from the rich to the poor. We can certainly do this effectively through our Linkages initiatives,” said the minister.