KINGSTON, Jamaica – The reconstruction effort by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Regional Tourism Interests to develop Haiti’s tourism sector will be guided by Jamaica’s Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Tourism Industry.
This was the consensus arrived at by the Montego Bay Initiative Group following a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica on Thursday, February 25, 2010. The Montego Bay Initiative Group was formed out of earlier talks between the UNWTO and regional tourism representatives at the recently held Tourism Outlook Seminar in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The Group is comprised of the UNWTO Regional Director, Mr. Carlos Vogeler; the Ministers of Tourism of Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Antigua; the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation; the Secretary General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association; the President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, the Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
“Jamaica will play a very central role in the Caribbean in this regard and the model which is being used is really the model that draws heavily on the Jamaica Tourism Master Plan,” Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett told a press conference at Jamaica House in Kingston following the meeting of the Montego Bay Initiative Group. According to Minister Bartlett, the program of assistance “will see a fusion of efforts between ourselves (Jamaica) and the wider CARICOM”.
Haiti’s Tourism Minister, Mr. Patrick Delatour – who is leading the reconstruction effort on behalf of the Haitian Government – said up to US$30 billion is needed to reconstruct the earthquake-stricken Caribbean nation. Agriculture, tourism and light manufacturing have been selected as the main pillars on which Haitian economy will be rebuilt.
Mr. Delatour pointed out that his government is facing an imminent crisis as the rainy season is approaching and thousands of people are still living under tents and makeshift shelters across Port-au-Prince. The Haitian Government official said the ensuing floods that are expected from the rains to come will spell another crisis if an appropriate solution is not found for the displaced.
CARICOM’s Special Representative leading the aid effort for the reconstruction Haiti, Jamaica’s former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, in outlining the plan action for the Task Force that he heads, said his team is gearing up for the reconstruction phase which is scheduled to start with the end of the relief phase in the first week of March.
“We are moving to a new phase where we are addressing the recovery, the rebuilding, the reconstruction, the rebirth of a new Haiti – what I prefer to regard as the renaissance of Hait,” he told the press conference.
Importantly, the CARICOM Special Representative pointed out that “I have been asked to look at ways in which CARICOM can be supportive of the development efforts in Haiti and in a manner that will allow for the full integration in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy”.