MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – With just a few days to go, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett is satisfied that all systems are in place for the November 27 to 29 staging of the global conference on sustainable tourism at the Montego Bay Convention Centre (MBCC).
Registration for the UNWTO, Government of Jamaica, World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, was set to cut off on November 17 but was extended to the November 20 to accommodate a last-minute flurry.
Following a reconnaissance visit to the MBCC and reports from the organizing committee on Saturday (November 18), Minister Bartlett gave the thumbs up. “I’m very satisfied with what I’ve seen and heard,” he said.
Projection was for 800 to 1,000 participants, however, Minister Bartlett announced, “That at Friday registration stood at 905 and we may end up with registration closer to 1100 at the end of the day. We know that there are others that are going to come, including a number of Ministers from the Caribbean that are now just registering.”
Of note, he pointed out, registration included “major players in the industry, both from the point of view of those who manage and execute as well as the policy drivers and the international civil servants leadership.” Among those confirmed for the conference opening ceremony are the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro; President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina; Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness as well as Prime Minister of St Lucia, Hon. Alan Chastenet.
Confirmed conference speakers also include UNWTO Secretary-General, Dr. Taleb Rafai; President of World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), Gloria Guevara Manzo; Vice-President for Countries, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Alexandre Meira da Rosa as well as Secretary-General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Hugh Riley, his Chairman, Dionisio D’Aguilar, who is also the Bahamas Tourism and Aviation Minister, and President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Karolin Troubetzkoy.
“When we look at the mix, a confluence of political and civil leadership, this is promising to be the most complete conference that there has ever been for tourism, arguably on planet earth because we may have had other leaders of the same rank from other countries but certainly, this conference will not be outranked in terms of leadership of the globe,” said Minister Bartlett.
He is anticipating that “it will be an opinionated conference that will remain in the minds of everybody who has come.”
The tourism conference is the flagship event for the 2017 UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and while deliberations will focus on global and international perspectives, it will also provide an opportunity to showcase Jamaica’s sustainable tourism development practices and demonstrate how the sector contributes to the economic well-being of all Jamaicans.
As host Minister, Minister Bartlett said he expects the biggest take away from the conference to be “Jamaica being positioned as a global venue for international meetings of this sort, and that we would be seen as a country where people can feel free to come knowing that there is good capacity for arrangements and organization.”
He declared, “We have to show that world that we are small but we are capable.”