After months of advocacy, high level discussions and partnerships, Jamaica has been successful in receiving the necessary support to have February 17 officially declared Global Tourism Resilience Day. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution yesterday with the support of over ninety countries. This will be the first ever Global Tourism Resilience Day which will now be recognized every year on that day.
Following a presentation at the UNGA’s 58th Plenary meeting in New York, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism the Hon. Edmund Bartlett highlighted the importance of the declaration, stating: “This announcement will in fact signal to the world to put aside one day, February 17, every year to not just observe but to create a greater level of consciousness around resilience.
“The pandemic has shown us that global disruptions will continue, so there will be more epidemics, pandemics and earthquakes like the one in Turkey. The importance of this day is therefore to encourage capacity building for the world to be better able to respond to these global disruptions and recover quickly.”
Tourism is one of the world’s major economic sectors and in 2019 accounted for 7% of global trade and one in ten jobs. However, tourism also remains one of the most vulnerable industries and this has been evident over the years with the negative impact of climatic events like hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as pandemics and economic recessions.
“If we are to future-proof the sustainability of tourism, now is the time to give greater consideration for building resilience and it is especially more critical for tourism dependent countries like Jamaica, whose economic livelihood rests on the survival of this industry. This is indeed a huge step in coalescing global support every year on this important matter and I thank all our stakeholders and partners who worked to make this happen,” added Minister Bartlett.
The Global Tourism Resilience Centre (GTRCMC), headquartered in Kingston, has been a major driver in calls for capacity building in tourism resilience. Born out of the Montego Bay Declaration, the GTRCMC was established to address these inevitable disruptions through preparedness, management and recovery strategies.
“The GTRCMC has been the unwavering global voice for tourism resilience and to have achieved a day focused on bolstering our efforts will encourage more partnerships among countries to build capacity through research and the coming together of the best minds,” said Professor Lloyd Waller, Executive Director of the GTRCMC.
This is the second designation attributed to the efforts of Jamaica since the designation of the International Year of Human Rights in 1968. The designation also comes ahead of the upcoming Global Tourism Resilience Conference which will be held at the University of the West Indies’ Regional Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, from February 15-17, 2023.