First meeting held Thursday
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has been selected to chair a high-level Organization of American States (OAS) Working Group, which has been tasked to develop an action plan for the recovery of the cruise tourism and airline industry in light of the fall-out caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recently established working group is one of four announced during the 2nd special session of the OAS Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR) held on August 14 this year to facilitate the effective and timely recovery of the travel and tourism sectors.
The first meeting of the Working Group was held on Thursday with representatives from the relevant member states, which include Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Honduras, Peru and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
MEETING WITH KEY STAKEHOLDERS
In preparation for this crucial meeting, Bartlett recently convened a national preparatory meeting with key stakeholders such as Professor Gordon Shirley, president and chief executive officer of the Port Authority of Jamaica; Audley Deidrick, president and chief executive officer of the Airports Authority of Jamaica/Norman Manley International Airport Ltd and Shane Munroe, chief executive officer at MBJ Airports Ltd.
The meeting was called by the tourism minister as he sought the input of local stakeholders in charting a recovery plan for the tourism and airline industry operating in OAS member states.
COVID-9 IMPACT ON CRUISE TOURISM AND AIRLINE INDUSTRY
The global pandemic has had a devastating impact on cruise tourism and the airline industry, resulting in cruise tourism grinding to a halt and many airlines being grounded, unable to fly because of travel restrictions imposed by governments across the globe. The United Nations World Tourism Organization reported that during the second quarter of 2020, for the first time ever, 100 per cent of global destinations introduced travel restrictions.
As a result, international tourism has been almost totally suspended, and domestic tourism curtailed by lockdown conditions imposed in many countries. Although some destinations have slowly started to open up, many are afraid of international travel or cannot afford it due to the economic crisis.
JAMAICA PLEASED TO CHAIR WORKING GROUP
In accepting the offer to chair the working group, Bartlett remarked that, “Jamaica is very honoured to join these important discussions on the recovery of our tourism industry. As the newly appointed chairman of the Working Group focusing on cruise and airline recovery, we will seek to leverage the collective expertise of our members to find innovative solutions as we chart the way forward in this new normal.”
The Jamaican tourism minister pointed out that the output of the Working Group will be delivered for the consideration of the XXV Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism in October 2021.
The OAS is the premier regional forum for political discussion, policy analysis and decision-making in Western Hemisphere affairs. It dates back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890.