KINGSTON: In recognition of the vulnerability of the nation’s tourism sector to the elements of nature, Jamaica, through the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, is one of 10 participating states in a project aimed at developing a regional monitoring and evaluation framework for the tourism sector in the Caribbean.
This framework is meant to contribute to the overall goal of reducing the vulnerability of the tourism sector to natural hazards and climate change.
Called the “Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean Tourism Sector,” the project is being executed by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the University of the West Indies. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded the project in the amount of US$750,000.
“We are fully convinced of the importance of integrating disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and tourism development,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Jennifer Griffith, at the recent opening ceremony of the first regional meeting of the project.
“We have had significant expansion in recent years, and are constantly expanding our coastal tourism plant.”
Griffith said the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment recognizes both the importance and vulnerability of the sector and has therefore partnered with the Planning Institute of Jamaica and other Government of Jamaica entities to secure funding for shoreline protection in Negril.
The project was lauded by regional executives.
CTO Sustainable Tourism Product specialist, Gail Henry, who also addressed the group, said the strategic approach used in the project can help close the gap between scientific research, policy making and the development of practical tools and systems to address disaster management.
“The CDEMA coordinating unit is pledging its support to working side-by-side with our tourism sector partners in empowering this sector to drive the mainstreaming process,” said Elizabeth Riley, Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA.
In her remarks, Dr. Cassandra Rogers, Natural Disaster Risk Management specialist, Inter-American Bank, stated that the IDB anticipates that the products generated from the project will lead to more informed prioritization of risk reduction and adaptation measures, and its application at the regional and national level to Caribbean tourism.
Among the other countries participating in the project are Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, the Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos.