Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has called on tourism leaders across the globe to activate the sector’s natural resilience in order to preserve the industry’s growth and transmission into the next phase of existence.
“The world is depending upon this sector to be a shoulder on which the global economy stands in order to see the future ahead and to plan for it,” he noted.
“If ever there was a time to reverence the importance of tourism and its social, economic and political impacts in the steadfast development of the world we inhabit, that time is now,” he added.
Bartlett was speaking at a virtual board meeting of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), held on Saturday at the entity’s location at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, St Andrew.
The meeting, with board members across the globe, was to report on activities within the last year as well as facilitate discussions related to tourism’s recovery and resilience in the face of COVID-19.
The minister, who is founder and co-Chair of the GTRCMC, noted that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has, in many ways, underscored the importance of tourism to the world economy.
He said tourism, over the past months, has taken centre stage as a leading sector on which countries and their economies pivot in order to remain above the waters.
As such, he said it is imperative for leaders and other stakeholders, even as they battle COVID-19, to “rise to the levels of agility that is required. We must find the approaches and commit ourselves to the path of adaptation, innovation and resilience”.
He argued that in order for the sector to survive the pandemic, the players must never become disengaged or disconnected.
The minister, in the meantime, said that the GTRCMC Centre is facilitating research and partnerships to ensure that the industry remains strong and indomitable.
“We have conducted surveys on how tourism workers are coping with the shutdown. We have also done surveys on the impact that COVID-19 has had on the sector,” he said,
He said that the centre is also in the process of procuring a post-pandemic recovery strategy, as well as briefs on tourism reopening strategies globally, and has developed a document on tourism resilience and digital transmission.
He noted that stakeholders have also been engaged in an aggressive social and public awareness campaign in order to keep partners and associates connected.