Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism for Jamaica, has arrived in China to take part in the 22nd session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly.
The event is being held in Chengdu, China, from September 11th-16th.
Minister Bartlett said: “I am really happy to have such a prestigious platform to market brand Jamaica to our friends in China.
“I am equally excited to be able to promote the upcoming UNWTO conference to a global audience of high-level influencers.”
He added: “Jamaica is one of the four English-speaking Caribbean members of the UNWTO.
“So it is quite an honour for us to occupy a position that will have us at the helm of the decision-making process of the tourism sector — not only in the region but for member states across the globe.
“The confidence placed in Jamaica internationally puts us in a unique position to reap a number of benefits which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the people of Jamaica.”
The conference is expected to attract some one thousand participants to exchange best practices and come up with a replicable and measurable action plan to create a truly sustainable tourism sector.
United Nations World Tourism Organisation secretary general, Taleb Rifai, described the upcoming General Assembly as: “A unique opportunity to get the sector united towards the common goal of making tourism a true driver of sustainable development.”
The bi-annual event will discuss how to advance the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals and define the actions of the organisation for the period 2018-2019.
A high-level debate on tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals, a special session on smart tourism, the celebrations of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, the conversion of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics into an international convention and current trends of the tourism sector are all integrated into the agenda of event.
The assembly will also discuss the lines of action and key priorities of the organisation for the two coming years.
“This assembly gives us a unique opportunity to take key decisions that will guide us towards making a strong contribution to the future of people and planet,” said Rifai.
“The UNWTO General Assembly constitutes the most relevant meeting of global tourism leaders and therefore we should capitalise on this occasion.
“Tourism is at a crossroads.
“This assembly is our opportunity to strengthen our sector in view of the changes it faces.” he added.
This 22nd session of the General Assembly is the second hosted in China and the fourth in Asia and the Pacific.
“China is not only the world’s fourth most-visited country and the first outbound market in the world; it is also an example of a country prioritizing tourism as a driver for development.
“The efforts of Chinese authorities to define tourism as a strategic pillar of the national economy and an effective development tool make China a fitting host for this UNWTO General Assembly,” said Rifai.
Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth
While in China, minister Bartlett will be seeking to promote the Global Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism event Jamaica will host in November this year.
Speaking to Breaking Travel News earlier this year about plans for the event, minister Bartlett said: “The plans for this event are going extremely well, we have over 50 countries attending, with more than 200 delegates.
“The programme content has been getting stronger; we are seeing interest from all over the world.
“The top names in tourism will be in Jamaica to share their ideas.
“We also have the larger international agencies on board, with the World Bank as a partner, as well as others.
“The event will be the greatest confluence of tourism interests that the world has seen for a long time.”
The conference will bring together world leaders from the tourism industry along with governments, donors, international development and finance organizations to design and coordinate an international road map and foster collaborative relationships for inclusive economic and social development via tourism.
Organised by the UNWTO, the ministry of tourism of Jamaica and the World Bank Group, in collaboration with Chemonics International, a leading international development firm, the conference will identify successful models and future initiatives of public-private partnerships that will contribute to sustainable tourism development globally.
Ahead of the event Jamaica is investing J$200 million in the facilities at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, which will allow the Caribbean island to showcase the very best of its offering.
Minister Bartlett explained: “The investment in building additional capacity at the convention centre is very important.
“The world is coming to see us and people will realise we do have first-class facilities capable of holding world-class events.
“For us it is a hugely important investment.”
Taking place om November 27th-29th, it will be hosted at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, Jamaica.