World Tourism Day 2008: “Tourism Responding To The Challenge Of Climate Change”

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – This year on September 27, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) celebrates World Tourism Day (WTD) 2008 under the theme, “Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change.”

Jamaica is a member of the UNWTO, and through the Ministry of Tourism, will commemorate the day by hosting a seminar and exhibition entitled “Climate Change and the Bottom-line…the Strategic Business Outlook for Jamaica’s Tourism Sector”, on the eve of World Tourism Day, Friday, September 26, 2008 at the Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort.

The programme will include a high level team of presenters to include the main address from the Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett and special guest presenters Dr. Murray Simpson, Oxford University Centre for the Environment and Mr. Raymond Campbell, Consultant of KPMG International. Other presenters will include the participation of the Ministry of Health and Environment, Ministry of Mining, Energy and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Tourism agencies, the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Tourism Product Development Company, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

Minister Bartlett will deliver his main address in the following areas: Critical Climate considerations for the tourism sector, trends to watch in the future globally, the tourism sector’s contribution to the fulfilment of national and regional objectives to include the policy and planning framework, energy conservation, incentives, training, marketing and health issues from the impact of climate changes.

In recent years, the Ministry of Tourism has been steadily building its capacity to respond to the challenge of climate change. This year, in keeping with the UN Davos Declaration on Climate Change and Tourism, we plan to bring greater emphasis to the linkages and implications of this important global issue for the tourism sector in Jamaica.

Climate Change presents many challenges and opportunities. According to a 2008 publication by KPMG International Global Sustainability Services, tourism is a ‘danger zone’ sector where the sector’s level of risk is outweighed by its level of preparedness. By strategically planning to confront the challenges and optimising the opportunities presented by climate change, tourism businesses can improve their resilience and sustain or enhance their market position.

Over 300 tourism stakeholders will be invited to attend the seminar, including General Managers, Managing Directors and/or Chairmen of hotels, attractions, tour companies etc., as well as senior government officials responsible for investment, destination marketing, climate and environmental services and disaster mitigation.

Efforts will be made to minimize the environmental impact of the seminar and exhibition, for example, by reducing the use of paper products and reproductions wherever possible.

The exhibition will feature 15-20 exhibitors displaying information related to the issues of climate change, alternative energy and environmentally friendly organizations. It will be open to the tourism sector for the day, in particular technical staff such as engineers and environmental officers.

Through these initiatives, the Ministry of Tourism seeks to inform the public on the linkages between Climate Change and Tourism, offer the Jamaican tourism industry solutions to the challenges posed by climate change, and motivate business leaders to mitigate the risks and optimise the opportunities.

The Ministry of Tourism and agencies the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Tourism Product Development Company are the lead agencies and the official organizers of the Seminar and Workshop for World Tourism Day 2008.

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