KINGSTON Jamaica; December 19, 2017: Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett and the outgoing Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb Rifai today (December 19, 2017) signed the Montego Bay Declaration which will chart the course forward for a sustainable tourism world agenda.
Following the signing, which took place during the UNWTO’s Closing Ceremony for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland; Minister Bartlett stated that, “the Montego Bay Declaration cements our legacy in the industry’s history books forever.”
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The Declaration is one of the major outcomes of the recently concluded UNWTO, Government of Jamaica, World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, held at the Montego bay Convention Centre from November 27-29, 2017. It has been described as a blueprint for global tourism sustainability issues that will inform the next set of global millennial goals.
Building on the legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, which had the objective of setting a common action plan towards 2030, the Declaration which is a 15-point action plan, also highlights two principal points which the Minister believes are pertinent to the development of Jamaica’s tourism sector.
He noted that it outlines the need for Governments, private sector, donors and international and regional organisations to support the establish recommendation for the establishment of a Global Tourism Resilience Centre in the Caribbean.
“I am very pleased to share that the declaration not only has the support of the UNWTO but also the international community at large, who have expressed particular interest in the proposal to establish a Resilience Centre to mitigate the possible impact of disasters. We are currently in discussions with key stakeholders who I am certain will be giving their official endorsements soon,” said the Minister.
The Declaration also highlights the need for multilaterals to channel development financing to Small and Medium-Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), which drive 80 percent of global tourism and are important to the development of Jamaica’s second biggest employer and foreign exchange earner.
The aim of the closing ceremony was to bring the international community together to commit to realizing the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through tourism, at the national and global level. Most importantly, it brought to a close, the initiatives and actions initiated this year to provide a roadmap for the global community at large to embrace sustainable practices and maximize the engagement in the global development agenda.
Minister Bartlett is scheduled return to the island on December 21, 2017.