[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Co-Chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), Hon. Edmund Bartlett, and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, and Chairman of the GTRCMC – Eastern Africa, Hon. Najib Balala signed a ground-breaking memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Friday, July 16. The MOU will pave the way for the two Centres to work together to develop policy and conduct relevant research. Especially on destination preparedness, management and recovery.
The signing took place during the Tourism Recovery Summit for African Ministers of Tourism currently underway in Nairobi, Kenya. Minister Bartlett was invited to speak in his capacity as a well-respected global thought leader on tourism resilience and recovery.
A Huge Leap for Policy Research
Minister Bartlett lauded the MOU signing, as “a huge leap for policy research. It will allow these two Centres to collaborate in forecasting, mitigating and managing risks related to tourism resilience. Especially those caused by various disruptive factors. This is truly an exciting opportunity.” The GTRCMC – East Africa at Kenyatta University, is a regional satellite centre of the international GTRCMC, located at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica.
“This is particularly relevant as we navigate and respond to the challenges brought on by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. We must be at the forefront of coordinating responses, surveillance and monitoring, and organizing economic relief efforts within and across borders. Collaborations such as this are both critical and timely,” the Minister said.
Following the MOU signing, Hon. Najib Balala presented a cheque for Ksh 10 million (US$ 100,000) to Minister Bartlett to support activities at the East Africa Centre.
The MOU will facilitate a strategic partnership as it relates to Research and Development; Policy Advocacy and Communication Management; Programme/Project Design and Management and Training and Capacity Building, specific to climate change and disaster management; security and cyber-security management; entrepreneurial management; and pandemic and epidemic management.
This will be done through programmes or undertakings such as:
- Joint research activities
- Joint teaching or supervision of students
- Staging of joint seminars, conferences, workshops, training initiatives and academic meetings
- Short/long-term student exchange or study abroad activities
- Exchange of academic materials and other information
- Collaborative academic programmes
- Joint collaborative Grant Proposals
- Collaboration in distance education
- Other mutually beneficial endeavours
The stage was set for the MOU signing in 2019 during the state visit of the President of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, where discussions were held between representatives of UWI, Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre and Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife (Kenya) to explore establishing the GTRCMC – East Africa at Kenyatta University.
Minister Bartlett also toured Kenyatta University and the GTRCMC – East Africa where he was hosted by the Vice Chancellor of Kenyatta University, Professor Paul Wainaina.