With the commitment and involvement of several government ministries and agencies as well as key private sector groups and companies, a roster of sub committees to spearhead various aspects of planning for Jamaica to host a successful United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) historic Global Conference on Building Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism for Development was laid out at the inaugural meeting. The UNWTO Conference Planning Committee was held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre over the weekend.
Multi-sectoral planning started in earnest, and the highly-anticipated event will be held from November 27 to 29, 2017, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James.
Committee members have been chosen from various state entities which fall under the ambit of the Ministries of Tourism; National Security; Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Labor and Social Security; and Local Government to name a few. This is being bolstered by the support of representatives from private sector groups such as the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ); Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA); and the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Outlining key elements of the conference, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett indicated that it will be “the single most important international event for tourism that we will host as a country to date,” adding that it is a major undertaking not just for Jamaica but the entire region.
“What we have asked you to help us to plan and execute is also a first in the world for the UNWTO because it is the first time in any location that all the arms of tourism are going to converge to discuss sustainable tourism issues, its future and to cerebrate on matters that will ensure the future development of world tourism,” he told committee members.
Some 750 direct participants and an additional 100 plus affiliated persons are expected in Montego Bay for the three-day event which Minister Bartlett said will show what Jamaica is capable of doing and put the city of Montego Bay on display.
Underscoring that the success of the conference will be underpinned by public-private sector partnerships, Minister Bartlett said the JHTA was the biggest local partner and that it will be supported by Chemonics International, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association through Carnival and Royal Caribbean International, as well as the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank.
With the agencies of the United Nations, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the World Tourism and Travel Council also supporting the event, Minister Bartlett is satisfied that “this will be a conference like no-one has ever seen before.”
There will be significant spin-offs for local and Caribbean tourism, particularly so for Jamaica which will be showcasing to global tourism partners a special gastronomy prototype in rural Jamaica as well as hosting a major awards ceremony honoring some of the best tourism leaders in the region.