Jamaica to lead development of Caribbean Tourism Innovation Centre
Following a successful presentation on Jamaica’s plans to establish a Centre of Tourism Innovation through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Jamaica was asked to lead the development of a similar centre for the region.
“Jamaica is excited as we are honoured to be asked to establish this centre – especially given the fact that we ourselves have created the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation. Our presentation was well received and has gone a long way in helping to establish Jamaica as a leading destination in the development of smart tourism,” said Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett.
The announcement was made during the 63rd meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for the Americas (CAM) currently taking place in Asunción, Paraguay.
The Minister noted that the new model of TEF restructured to operate as Jamaica’s Centre of Tourism Innovation, will “create the added value that the industry needs to go one step further, by being ahead of competition and defining the new ways in which Jamaica is going to remain top-of-mind in the industry.”
The restructured TEF will include new divisions such as the Tourism Linkages Network, the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) and the Craft Development Institute. It will also include a Data Analytics Division, which will use big data to monitor new trends in the industry globally to guide decision-making within the Ministry.
The Minister also shared that he provided members of the CAM with an update on the development of the Global Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management, which TEF’s Centre of Tourism Innovation has also been charged to assist with the data management of the facility.
“Today the Americas accepted the presentation on the Resilience Centre and embraced the small and medium tourism enterprises as a critical programme for which the world is being encouraged to support,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister went on to explain that the ultimate goal of the Centre – which will be established at the University of the West Indies, Mona – is to assist with global destination preparedness. It will specifically target the management and recovery process of affected states from disruptions and/or crisis that affects tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally.
The Centre will also include a Virtual Tourism Observatory, which will provide access to a broad collection of information, data and analysis on current trends in the tourism sector. This will be made accessible to anyone interested in data on tourism in any country – such as the latest available figures on the sector's trends and volumes, economic and environmental impact, and the origin and profile of tourists.
Minister Bartlett’s presence at the CAM was critical as, Jamaica is one of the four English speaking Caribbean Member States of the UNWTO. The country also occupies one of the five (5) seats allocated to the CAM on the Executive Council of the UNWTO for the period 2018 – 2021.
The 63rd Meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Americas is the first meeting since Jamaica was elected and it is first time that the new Secretary General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, has participated in the CAM meeting.
Minister Bartlett also used the opportunity to discuss Jamaica’s input in the T20 Tourism meeting, which will inform the G20 Summit – both are scheduled to be held in Argentina immediately after the CAM meeting.
The Minister is accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Jennifer Griffith at the Commission of the Americas meeting and will later be joined by his Senior Advisor/Consultant Dr. Lloyd Waller, at the G20/T20 meetings. He is expected to return to the island on April 26, 2018.