An international resilience, recovery and sustainability task force has been established to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of Haiti’s tourism industry, in the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the country.
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) will be coordinating the task force’s engagements and other support mechanisms, in Jamaica’s response to the disaster-stricken nation.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who co-founded the GTRCMC, is leading the task force.
Speaking at the group’s first virtual meeting on Wednesday (August 25), Mr. Bartlett said the task force’s primary objective is responding to Haiti’s immediate humanitarian needs, with focus on the recovery of the tourism sector.
He said rebuilding the industry is critical to the sustainability of the island’s recovery efforts.
“We have to build back the tourism [sector] because that is the sustainable arrangement that will ensure the livelihood for the people,” the Minister said.
Members of the task force include Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sandals Resorts International and ATL Group, and President of the Sandals Foundation, Adam Stewart; Group CEO, JMMB, Keith Duncan; Managing Director for Deals, Southern Cluster for PwC Tax and Advisory Services Limited, Wilfred Baghaloo; Minister of Tourism for Barbados and Chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Senator the Hon. Lisa Cummings; Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Ahmed Khateeb; and Minister of Tourism and Aviation for The Bahamas, Hon. Dionisio James D’Aguila.
Among the other members are Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association, Nicola Madden-Grieg; Executive Director of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, Professor Llyod Waller; Chairman and Founder of Grupo Puntacana, Frank Elias Rainieri; and CEO, Global Rescue, Dan Richards.
The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and its stakeholders have also pledged to support the initiative.
On August 14, Haiti was struck by the powerful earthquake, which killed more than 2,000 people and damaged more than 70,000 buildings.