The third annual Tourism Outlook Seminar, being held over two days at the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, got underway on February 2 with local, regional and global industry leaders being challenged by Jamaica’s Tourism Minister to become creators of the new tourism architecture and design a way forward for the industry.
This new architecture, Minister Bartlett noted, must be designed if we are to survive in the fiercely competitive global environment. This includes new markets, new technology, new investment, new partnerships and new communications processes.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett urged stakeholders to arm themselves over the next two days with the tools and creativity to design and build a new future for tourism in the region and the world.
The theme of this year’s seminar, which is being co-sponsored by the UNWTO, is Challenges, Changes & Opportunities in Tourism – Rising Above the Current Global Economic Landscape.
According to Minister Bartlett, despite the challenges “We are here, we are surviving and some are growing. I believe that if we are serious about growth, we can achieve it, even in a recession. For example here in Jamaica, even though our key U.S. and U.K. markets had economic challenges, we experienced an increase in arrivals in 2009 – proving that growth is possible even in a recessionary period,” noted Bartlett.
The Tourism Minister told the delegates that recession does not mean the end of the world. “Our thinking has to be not just out of the box, but thinking without any box at all. We need to throw away the box.”
Jamaica’s Tourism Director John Lynch chaired the opening session entitled The Current Landscape which saw three distinguished speakers: Carlos Vogeler, UNWTO’s Regional Representative for the Americas; Williard Phillips, ECLAC’s Economic Affairs Officer and Logan Stanton, World Economic Forum’s Head of North America making presentations that are expected to set the stage for the discussions over the two days.
The deliberations on the opening day included a session on Maintaining the Competitive Edge, chaired by Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Hugh Riley and Marketing in a time of rapid fire Changes, the first of two panel discussions to be moderated by David Shields, Deputy Director of Tourism, Marketing at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
One of the highly anticipated topics being explored at the seminar is The Roadmap to Recovery: Effective Airlift, a session featuring a panel of experts including Air Jamaica’s President and CEO Bruce Nobles; US Airways’ Manager International Route Planning Brian Council; JetBlue Airways’ Head of Sales Caribbean & Latin America Chad Meyerson; and British Airways Head of UK & Ireland Sales and Marketing, Richard Tams.