Bolt invited to serve as special ambassador for major conference

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.
Associated Press / Tim Ireland

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) says legendary Jamaican Olympic star, Usain Bolt, has been invited to serve as a special ambassador for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

JTB said on Wednesday that Bolt’s service is “in honor of The UNWTO [UN World Tourism Organization], Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group conference’s ‘Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth through Sustainable Tourism.’”

“The conference, taking place Nov. 27 – 29, 2017 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Jamaica, will kick start discussions for forming public-private-partnerships in the spirit of sustainable tourism for development, as less than half a percent of global funding went to tourism last year,” JTB said.

“Worldwide, tourism provides 1 in every 11 jobs, and is particularly vital in Caribbean countries,” it added, stating that, in Jamaica, the tourism industry employs as many as 1 in 5 people.

“In the same way that Usain Bolt’s dominant career has had a significant impact on Brand Jamaica and the island’s tourism product, his role as a UNWTO ambassador will further emphasize the importance of this initiative worldwide, and especially in the Caribbean,” JTB continued.

JTB said it is “vital that the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development Ambassadors can encourage positive change in policies and business practices, as well as educate consumers about the importance of sustainable tourism.

“Bolt’s international celebrity ensures he is a compelling advocate who can advance the mission of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” JTB said.

With Bolt’s status as an internationally-renowned athlete, JTB said he makes for a “compelling advocate, capable of both inspiring younger generations to support sustainable tourism to development and engaging stakeholders in fostering positive change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior.”

This will be the first UNWTO conference held in the Caribbean, “and the addition of Bolt as an ambassador will further solidify this Jamaican-led effort,” JTB said.

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