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Jamaica, World Bank to host 1st Global Tourism Conference

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Tourism has become an economic powerhouse.

Tourism is the number one industry reportedly employing 10 percent of labor in the world.

Two hundred and ninety three million now work in the industry and by 2030 that figure is expected to grow to 350 million.

In many countries it is replacing other industries (petroleum) in Dubai.

One and a half million people spent $1.3 trillion last year in search of new experiences.

One in five workers in JA, work in tourism.

Those are some of the reasons Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism invited media to the island’s consulate for a briefing to announce the convening of 157 countries, 97 ministers from around the world, heads of states and tourism ambassadors to his island from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.

For the first time ever, Jamaica will partner with the United Nations World Trade Organization (UNWTO) and the World Bank Group to host the “Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnership for Sustainable Tourism.”

Although Dubai and the Emirates lead the world as the number one tourist destination, Jamaica is the leading tourism destination in the Caribbean.

The United Nations issued a declaration proclaiming 2017 — the International Year of Sustainable Development.

Endorsed with commitments from Paul Pennicook, his country’s director of tourism, John Lynch, Chairman, Jamaica Tourist Board, Marcia Mclaughlin and Donnie Dawson, Deputy Directors, JTB, Matt Cooper, Chief Marketing Officer, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and Hugh Riley, Secretary General of Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) the top spokesperson for the region on the industry explained that 157 countries are expected to showcase tourism during the brief period.

“With the first conference of this magnitude in this hemisphere, the involvement of the CTO, representing the public sector, the CHTA, representing the private sector, it is an example of regional collaboration at its best,” Bartlett said.

“Tourism has experienced significant growth and has become one of the fastest growing socio-economic sectors in the world,” he added.

“In 2016 international tourist arrivals totaled 1.2 billion and are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030.”

“Tourism accounts for more than 10 percent of global GDP, 30 percent of the world’s trade in services and one in 11 jobs worldwide,” he explained.

“In the Caribbean, it is estimated that tourism contributes more than $27 billion in foreign exchange to the regional economy.”

The minister reeled off a long list of data bolstering his argument to sustainable tourism growth.

“Tourism is the single largest generator of foreign exchange in 16 out of 28 countries in the Caribbean and also the sector receiving the most foreign direct investments.

As a region we must strive to grow our current market share.”

“It’s historic!” Riley said.

“Jamaica has always taken a leadership role…a thing like this has never happened before. But it is not surprising Jamaica has always been a champion for sustainabi­lity,” the CTO spokesperson said.

Updated 5:03 pm, June 15, 2017
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