#KINGSTON, March 11 (JIS): Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has called for players in the global tourism industry to come together in order to protect the multibillion-dollar sector against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“The call is a global alliance where tourism and Governments will have to now come into a symbiotic relationship to respond effectively to this global pandemic,” he said.
The Tourism Minister was delivering the keynote address at a forum dubbed: ‘Disruption Forces in Tourism’, held on Wednesday (March 11), at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.
With COVID-19 detected in about 120 countries to date, Mr. Bartlett noted that the virus has the capacity to severely impact tourism.
He said that at risk are the jobs of 435 million persons across the globe and earnings of US$31 billion in the Caribbean last year.
In Jamaica, tourism is a key economic driver, contributing about 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), and over 58 per cent of foreign exchange earnings. The country earned US$3.7 billion from the sector in 2019.
The Minster said there must be continuous building of capacity of the sector to respond to risks and threats, and ensure quick recovery.
The forum, organised by the Ministry’s Knowledge Network and the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre, examined the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Accommodation Economy in Jamaica, such as Airbnb.
It was addressed by senior officials from agencies within the Ministry and other stakeholders.
JIS NEWS by GARFIELD L. ANGUS