Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism for Jamaica, was a guest speaker at the seventh edition of the City Nation Place Global Conference.
Bartlett engaged the audience on one of his passion points – building resilience into place brand and place economy.
“Resilience is a state of equity and inclusion; where everybody benefits from tourism, where everybody survives and thrives and we work together to support each other,” said Bartlett.
“Resilience requires many actors.
“The pandemic has shown us that nations and the private sector can work together to tackle the world’s problems and to rebuild resilience.
“We can’t create resilience alone. But we can work together to support resilience.”
In December 2019, when the first news started emerging about Covid-19, the Jamaica Tourist Board immediately set up a taskforce to consider the implications of a possible disruption to its economy and started considering what the implications could be for its resilience.
Bartlett commented “Within a month of the pandemic being formally announced in March 2020, with the support of Price Waterhouse Coopers, we created a 365-page document of protocols.
“We also established a Recovery Taskforce.
“When we shut our borders, we used that time to train thousands of staff in Covid-19 protocols to ensure they were ready for reopening.”
He added: “We established resilient corridors, where all hospitality organisations were assessed and vetted, and we used technology to establish a system of logging each traveller’s arrival.
“This Jamaica Cares programme has been hugely successful. Since reopening in June 2020, we’ve kept Covid-19 incidences to less than 0.5 per cent in the resilient corridors.
“We’ve welcomed more than a million visitors and have bought more than 60,000 workers back into employment. “
Bartlett spoke eloquently about the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre.
He continued: “Our economy is one of many smaller nations which is heavily dependent on tourism and we’re in a region of the world where we’re affected by incidents such as hurricanes.
“But many smaller nations don’t have the support or skills to build their own resilience strategies.
“We formed the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre in 2018 in order to provide a framework of support and strategic guidance that all nations could benefit from.”
During the conference, the minister also confirmed the Jamaica Tourist Board as a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration, as announced at COP26 on the same day, showcasing a commitment to a decade of tourism climate action.
As a signatory, the Jamaica Tourist Board will agree to targets, including cutting global tourism emissions by at least half over the next decade and reaching net zero as soon as possible before 2050.
As co-founder and co-chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, Bartlett brings specific resilience expertise to this group.