Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, says a new generation of post COVID-19 travellers (Generation C or GEN-C), will reshape the way global tourism is marketed for the conceivable future.
Speaking with JIS News on April 30 Bartlett said that tourism-dependent countries like Jamaica will have to take the lead and be more proactive in their approach in what will amount to “a new way of thinking in an entirely new ball game”.
He warned that failure to embark on a strategic pathway could result in being squeezed out or left behind in what, undoubtedly, will be an even more increasingly competitive tourism industry.
“We have now become one generation, unified and defined by our experience during this devastating COVID-19 global pandemic,” Bartlett explained.
“We are forever influenced by this unprecedented time, when globally we have to ‘social distance’; businesses have to close; cities, regions, and countries are all on lockdown; and travel all but ceased,” he noted.
Bartlett said that the GEN-C concept was officially rolled out on Wednesday (April 29), at the Annual General Meeting of the UK Chapter of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) by his Ministry, where Jamaica made clear its intention to play a lead role in getting tourism back on track in the aftermath of COVID-19.
“Why is a GEN-C focused recovery and resilience strategy imperative for the global economy,” the Tourism Minister stated.
“GEN-C is defined by a societal shift in mindset, including how we travel. Many will be concerned about post-COVID travel and look to avoid big cities and public transportation, including planes, and be more likely to choose domestic travel,” he said.
Bartlett said it is against this background where the onus will be on Jamaica to fine-tune its resources where these concerns are promptly addressed and where the industry is again “ready for business from day one”.
“There is no question that tourism is among the sectors hit hardest by this crisis, but it is also at the heart of the recovery,” he argued.
Bartlett emphasised that a return to travel is critical for the global economy, pointing out that across the world, travel and tourism account for 11 per cent of the world’s GDP and create more than 320 million jobs for workers serving 1.4 billion travellers annually.