Major tourism conference kicks of in MoBay today
A milestone in the process of advancing tourism development is how UN World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai describes the 'Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth for Sustainable Tourism', which kicks off in Montego Bay, St James, today.
Rifai, secretary general of the agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism, said that the landmark conference, which has attracted 1,300 participants, will set a new standard for partnerships with industry stakeholders.
It will also contribute significantly to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), he added, referencing the level of partners convening in Jamaica - the UNWTO, the World
Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and many others.
The conference, led by Jamaica's Ministry of Tourism, runs from November 27 to 29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Some of the biggest names, regionally and internationally, are billed to participate in the event, including the Dominican Republic's President, Danilo Medina S·nchez; St Lucia's Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet; Jamaica's Prime Minister, Andrew Holness; Abel Matutes, director general, Grand Palladium Hotel Group; Karolin Troubutzkoy, president, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA); Hugh Riley, secretary general, Caribbean Tourism Organisation; and a number of tourism ministers from the region.
The event opens with a keynote address by tourism scholar Eduardo Fayos-Sola, senior adviser, IITS George Washington University. Fayos-Sola is known for his high-quality research on tourism as an instrument for development.
The conference has placed Jamaica in the spotlight for the next three days, and there will hardly be any greater scrutiny than on the host facility - the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
According to the centre's director of sales, Mavoy Smith, management and staff are not only cognisant of what is at stake, but also the role they have to play in showing the world that Jamaica indeed has a world-class facility "capable of hosting high-profile conferences".
"We have been prepping for this for quite some time, and we are ready to demonstrate to a global audience our true mettle and why we have consistently been voted the best convention centre in the Caribbean by the prestigious World Travel Awards," said Smith.
Government minister with responsibility for the facility Edmund Bartlett, who has carried the baton for the staging of this conference, said on the weekend that with tourism being the region's lifeline, discussions will be centred on multidestination marketing; innovation challenges in the Caribbean; threats facing the industry; current trends in indigenous tourism; talent development; and important human capital trends.
"The Caribbean will be well represented, and from the standpoint of where we are now, one of the biggest tourism regions on Earth," said Bartlett.