KINGSTON, Jamaica: Jamaica has been invited by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to sit on its executive for the first time in its history.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett will take up the position in January 2011, serving as representative of the Americas which comprises North Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
The WTTC, headquartered in London, is a private sector group comprising a cross-section of tourism and travel industry interest. These include airlines, hoteliers, distributors and tour operators.
The group meets to deliberate on wide ranging issues impacting travel and tourism globally, and to strategize and offer guidance on these matters, by examining trends and conducting research through their involvement with the Oxford Economics Group, which is a major independent provider of global economic, industry and business analysis.
Bartlett said that Jamaica’s involvement in the WTTC at the executive level will give the country “access to relationships that we don’t have now”.
“We will also be able to put our position, our destination, in line with all the great destinations of the world,” Bartlett said. “It gives us a voice so that we can also influence policy and influence the thinking of tourism globally. We get a chance to meet people, who have relationships that we want, and because we connect with them we are able to benefit from that.”
Citing an example of how networking with other global tourism stakeholders has benefited the country, Bartlett disclosed that last year, he was able to meet and discuss joint airlift arrangements involving Jamaica, Italy, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, with representatives of the Italian airline, Blue Panorama, while they were attending the Cuban Tourism Fair.
“That’s how we were able to reverse the negative trends (in visitor arrivals) that we had in Italy for the last 10 years, to a positive where, last year, we ended up growing by 21 per cent out of Italy.
“So, these are the key affinities that we have to pursue, by having relationships of this nature. It gives Jamaica a place, a presence and a voice, and it also enables us to engage advocacy on behalf of other Caribbean countries and the Americas. So we think that the impact of the WTTC is very powerful, globally,” said Bartlett.