Urgently needed: Global Oversight of Travel Advisories

The Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Hon Edmund Bartlett is taking an important step in saying there is a need for global oversight of travel advisories issued for destinations. The Minister made the call at the World Travel Market (WTM), which is being staged in London November 4 to 2019.

Speaking on a WTM panel discussion on ‘Taking responsibility for Safety and Security’, Minister Bartlett said, “this call for global oversight is being made in the context of the significance of tourism as a main economic driver in an increasing number of countries and implications that these advisories can have on the economic viability and stability of countries who are heavily tourism-dependent.”

Travel warnings or advisories are issued by governments to enable travelers to make an informed decision about a particular travel destination and to help travelers prepare adequately for what may be encountered on their trip.

Minister Bartlett, who also made the call at the launch of the World Travel and Tourism Council Crisis Readiness Report in partnership with Global Rescue which was held today during WTM, said whilst Jamaica has not been severely impacted by travel advisories there are other countries who have been.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Hon Najib Balala, also agreed with the sentiment and highlighted the negative impact of old information regarding security and safety issues remaining for years on platforms such as websites, even after the event shave passed.

Globally, tourism represents 10 percent of global GDP and employs 1 in 10 workers of the world. Some small and highly dependent tourism countries have GDP dependence of up to 90 percent as is the case in of a number of Caribbean countries.

“Travel advisories weigh heavily on the decisions of tourists to visit destinations. Many times, these advisories do not have timely review and consequently continue to carry a perspective on the destination which may long have changed thus putting at risk the economic viability of those communities.

There should be a global body that offers some oversight in the area and would intervene on behalf of some of these countries to have adjusted advisories that reflect a more accurate picture as to what is happening,” Minister Bartlett said.

The WTM is a major promotional platform for the JTB. It will feature many Jamaican companies, creating the ideal opportunity to meet industry professionals and conduct business deals. Through its industry networks, the WTM also creates personal and business opportunities while also providing customers with quality contacts, content and communities.

During the WTM, Minister Bartlett will also use the opportunity to increase in outbound travels from the UK, Northern Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, and Nordic region to grow arrivals from these markets.