OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, to Address UNWTO Tourism Conference in Montego Bay

PRESS RELEASE: Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that Mr Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), will address the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Government of Jamaica, World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, to be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, November 27 to 29, 2017.

Mr Luis Almagro took office as OAS Secretary General in 2015 at a time when the organisation’s relevance was being questioned, based on the financial crisis and polarisation of states in the hemisphere. Today, observers say that his leadership has been praised for reinvigorating the organisation.

“The OAS has long recognised, with grave concern, that the Latin American and Caribbean region represents one of the most vulnerable regions in the world due to the adverse impact of climate change”, Mr Almagro said in September in a message after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria affected the Caribbean earlier this year.

He also pointed out, “We also recognise that within this region, many developing small island and low-lying coastal states face grave threats to their survival and viability from climate change and the rise of sea level.”

Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who was recently appointed Coordinator of the UNWTO’s newly formed Disaster Recovery Working Group for the Affected States in the Caribbean, said that, “The conference will provide the opportunity for tourism interests to outline a plan of action, based on input from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the UNWTO.”

The OAS Secretary General joins a growing list of distinguished presenters at the Montego Bay conference including: His Excellency, Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic; His Excellency Dr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General; Mr Alexandre Rosa, Vice President for Countries, Inter-American Development Bank; Mr James Scriven, CEO of the Inter-American Investment Corporation; Mrs Gloria Guevara Manzo, President of the World Travel and Tourism Council; Mr  Eduardo Fayos Sola, Expert on the Future of Tourism; and Mr Xu Jing, Regional Director for Asia and Pacific for the UNWTO.

Minister Bartlett pointed out that the conference is being organised within the context of the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the conference aims to influence and support changes in policies; business practices; consumer behaviour towards a more sustainable tourism sector; and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He also informed that, “The World Bank Group and donor countries, through their specific investment agencies, will participate in the conference through panels. They will explore various areas of sustainability, including: how projects and financing can be generated for small and medium players in the global tourism sector.”

In addition, one of the high points of the conference will be facilitate technical visits to local community tourism enterprises, including the Rasta Indigenous Village, Cockpit Country Adventure Tours and the Bunkers Hill Cultural Xperience & River Tour. These attractions were selected to showcase the biological diversity of the natural environment, rich history and culture of Jamaica.

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