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Minister Bartlett in Kenya to establish resilience outpost
Jamaica minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, second right, engages in conversation with, from left, Joe Okudo, principle secretary in the Kenya state department of tourism; Kenya minister of tourism and wildlife, Najib Balala; and Paul Wainaina, vice-chancellor of Kenyatta University

Minister Bartlett in Kenya to establish resilience outpost

Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism for Jamaica, has paid a flying visit to Kenyatta University to review progress towards the setting up of a Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre.

The centre, which opened earlier this year, will have an office based at the university.

The mission of the centre is to carry out policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions that impact tourism and threaten economies.

It will also play a role in training officials to respond to crises as they evolve as well as developing communication capacities.

Jamaican minister of tourism Edmund Bartlett, the driving force behind the new centre, said: “The importance of this centre cannot be overemphasised in our hyper-connected society – a society in which tourism plays a vital role.

“This is a transformative tool to safeguard and protect the tourism product of countries around the world.”

Bartlett argued 10.4 per cent of global GDP is dedicated to tourism, accounting for one in ten jobs around the world.

In the Caribbean this figure rises to one in five jobs, with the region being the most dependant on tourism of any around the globe.

“With this dependence comes risks,” agued Bartlett, “and this centre is designed to mitigate this risk.”

Board members of the centre include Mario Hardy, chief executive of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Brett Tollman, chief executive of the Travel Corporation, and Earl Jarret, chief executive of the Jamaica National Group.

The new Kenya location is the second facility for the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre, and a mirror of the new facility at Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies.

During his tour, minister Bartlett was hosted by Kenyatta University vice-chancellor, Paul Wainaina.

Bartlett, who is also a board member of the African Tourism Board, received an ebony carving gift from the Kenyatta University.

Also participating in the meeting was the principal secretary in the ministry of tourism and wildlife, Joe Okudo, and Felistus Kinyanjui, chairperson at the department of international relations and conflict studies.

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The visit comes at the end of a successful year for tourism in Jamaica, with the Caribbean island recently recognised as the World’s Leading Family Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards.