By Douglas Mcintosh
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Jamaica’s tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, says development of a Caribbean multi-destination tourism framework is on track.
He said that Jamaica has signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, and the parties are scheduled to meet later this year to “start hammering out a product for the market”.
The multi-destination strategy is one of three legacy outcomes from last November’s United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) global conference in Montego Bay.
It calls on Caribbean governments and the private sector to work together to advance regional integration by fostering and harmonising legislation on air connectivity, visa facilitation, product development, promotion and human capital.
Bartlett said public-private partnership is pivotal to the success of the multi-destination arrangement.
“We need collaboration between the government and private sector… that is, our hotels, tour operators and airlines. We need to have a clear understanding as to the policies that are going to have to be harmonised and the synergies that need to come together to enable seamless movement of visitors within the countries that have agreed to have multi-destination activities,” he said.
The other key outcomes of the UNWTO summit, contained in the 15-point Montego Bay Declaration, include development of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises as a critical ingredient for job creation and inclusive growth; and the establishment of a Global Centre for Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management.
The declaration has the objective of setting a common tourism action plan towards 2030, and states that UNWTO member states and their partners “shall sustain the momentum created by the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 by creating a working group coordinated by the UNWTO on the legacy of the 2017 vision”.
The declaration also notes that national governments, local authorities, private sector, financing institutions and relevant stakeholders “shall develop an integrated and holistic approach to tourism development in order to capitalise on its value as a key contributor to sustainable development” and promote innovative tourism development models that fully engage, integrate and empower communities, create decent jobs and eliminate any barriers between communities and tourism developers.