KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett calls on the global community to support a tourism resilience fund to help countries cope with disruptions like pandemics.
Speaking with CNN’s Richard Quest on ‘Quest Means Business,’ Bartlett said the fund’s resources would come from tourists, who would make voluntary contributions – similar to leaving a tip – when they visit countries and thereby help further the goals of resilience and sustainability.
“This is a very innovative approach,” he said, explaining that the money will be used “for mitigation, for adaptation, for the development of capacity within countries to know more about disruptions – how to track them, how to mitigate against them, how to manage them when they come, and then how to recover and recover quickly and then to thrive afterward.”
The Tourism Minister noted that the fund has a dual role in developing the capacity and physical infrastructure to respond quickly to various disruptions. He mentioned that countries like Japan have been able to bounce back soon after disruptions, while others, such as Haiti, are still struggling to recover from earthquakes and other disorders even after 20 years.
He highlighted that the tourism resilience fund would not be subjected to multilateral stringencies and rules, which can be challenging for poorer countries. He proposed that every visitor to the government would contribute immediately, and the fund would go into the country’s coffers “for that purpose and that purpose only, we hope.”
Bartlett told Quest that Jamaica has returned from the pandemic thanks to the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI). It is the ability to establish protocols to manage the pandemic quickly.
The recently concluded Global Tourism Resilience Conference held from February 15-17, 2023, at the UWI Regional Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, ended with a signed declaration recognizing the importance of building tourism resilience to safeguard the industry’s sustainability globally.
The declaration formally recommends establishing a global tourism resilience fund to support tourism-dependent nations in periods of disruption. The fund was proposed by Minister Bartlett as international tourism stakeholders and policymakers commemorated the first official Global Tourism Resilience Day on February 17.
The proposed fund will support individual destinations in responding to their crises and disasters. Each country will manage its tourism resilience fund and employ the resources to enforce its tourism resilience, thus guaranteeing the sustainability of international travel and tourism.