KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has given his support to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’s (Ocean Panel) vision of accomplishing a viable tourism economy in less than 10 years.
He was giving the keynote address at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference: Sustainable Coastal and Marine Tourism Launch Event in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 29. The Ocean Conference is being held under the theme “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: Stocktaking, partnerships and solutions”.
During his address, Bartlett pointed out that “Jamaica fully endorses the goal of the Ocean Panel to achieve a sustainable tourism economy by 2030.”
In reiterating his support, Bartlett stressed that “the health and sustainability of our oceans are critical to the survival of the tourism industry”, adding that “the role of healthy marine and coastal systems in promoting sustainable tourism is especially worthy of recognition.”
Meanwhile, the Tourism Minister pointed out that the beauty of tourist attractions contributes to their vulnerability, noting that “marine and coastal ecosystems are also threatened by tourism development.” Bartlett contended that “the areas that appeal to tourists have been coming under increasing pressure from the damage and pollution caused by tourist facilities and the supporting infrastructure.”
He emphasised also that despite being a major driver of economic growth and job creation in the Caribbean, “cruise tourism produces a significant environmental impact” pointing to the effect of large cruises, including the emission of greenhouse gases, “which causes pollution and reduces the resilience of marine ecosystems as well as damage to fragile coastal and marine environment including corals.”
Bartlett stressed that in order to promote a sustainable ocean economy and push back against the various threats to healthy coastal and marine ecosystems, “Ocean Action is urgently required as ocean health continues to rapidly decline”.
He called for the balancing of the economic gains earned from the blue economy with the biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources as well as the social impact on coastal communities.
This event brought together the governments of the Ocean Panel and leading global tourism experts to discuss the findings of a new special report: Opportunities for Transforming Coastal and Marine Tourism: Towards Sustainability, Regeneration and Resilience; and a series of over 40 Expert Perspectives from global leaders across industry, academia, non-profit and international agencies.
The report provides the framework for the realization of the sustainable goal set by the Ocean Panel that by 2030: ‘Coastal and ocean-based tourism is sustainable, resilient, addresses climate change, reduces pollution, supports ecosystem regeneration and biodiversity conservation and invests in local jobs and communities.’