Travel And Tour World – Tell us something about your new role as the chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO)’s executive Council for affiliates?
Mr. Edmund Bartlett: First let me express my gratitude to the UNWTO Affiliate Members’ Board for electing me as its new Chairman earlier this month.
I am humbled by the confidence placed in me as Chairman, and will certainly do everything possible to meet member’s expectations.
This new role provides an opportunity to further collaborate with key players in tourism in driving the expansion of public private partnerships (PPPS), which are essential components of the sustainable development of the industry, globally. I am particularly interested in the pursuit of new ideas in tourism products, to create an engine for economic growth and the transformation of communities
Travel And Tour World – You are also Chairman of Consolidated Tourism Investment Consultants Limited (CTICo), how do your manifold responsibilities bring in a balance and add greater force to travel and tourism?
Mr. Edmund Bartlett: As chairman of CTICo, I have focused on E-tourism innovations to bring new approaches to marketing the product, including the use of social space to drive connectivity across markets, as well as generate data and prioritise strategies to maximize output and generate profit.
This platform will allow us to achieve a more equitable business environment and allow small and medium size investments to gain access to markets, which hitherto were unknown or preserved only for mega investors.
Travel And Tour World: Tell us something about your thirty years of service to Jamaica?
Mr. Edmund Bartlett: I have given over 30 years of service to Jamaica, initially as a politician and subsequently as a player in the sector.
I am currently the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Member of Parliament for East Central St. James.
I served previously as Minister of Tourism (2007-2011); Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Sports & Community Development, (1980–1989); as well as a member of the Senate and Opposition Spokesman of various portfolios (1989-2007).
Beyond the confines of my assigned responsibilities, however, I have continuously championed the cause of education, skills training and child welfare.
I am a founder of the Jamaica Foundation for Children, which was established in 1984, while I was Minister of Youth, recognizing the need to assist at risk children.
We were able to introduce teenage programmes, especially in response to the growing problem of teenage pregnancies. But we have also addressed other issues facing children in lock-ups and child care institutions and coordinated institutional support for the institutions and their programmes.
Travel And Tour World: After you were appointed Minister of Tourism in 2007, how has Jamaica benefited from your performance as the Minister?
Mr. Edmund Bartlett: On becoming Minister of Tourism in the JLP administration of 2007-2011, I took on the responsibility of guiding the sector through the world’s greatest depression in some 80 years.
We were losing markets, economies were crumbling all around us and capital markets were in disarray. However, by expanding partnerships with main players in the industry, including strategic partnerships with the airlines, which made us the most connected destination in the Americas, we enabled ourselves to strategically overcome the challenges of the period.
We grew every year throughout that depression, which was a signal achievement, because our principals markets, such as the United States, were also affected by the depression and tourism destinations in the region were losing markets.
We not only retained our partnerships with main players, but we also identified new markets, which have significantly benefited the growth and development of our industry since then.
During this period, I have gained enormous expertise in public policy and legislation, which are essential in creating an effective framework for tourism to grow and contribute to the economic well being of Jamaica and the Caribbean region.
Travel And Tour World – What is your greatest inspiration?
Mr. Edmund Bartlett: I believe in building human capital and have contributed to this through thousands of scholarships and other forms of resource support for children with brilliant minds but who lacked the support they needed to enable them to achieve their ambitions. I believe that through those interventions, we have been able to transform the lives of thousands of young people from depressed communities in Jamaica into successful adults and competent professionals. Those achievements have been my greatest inspiration in seeking to make my contribution to nation building.
I also believe that through the growth and expansion of our tourism industries, we can transform some of our poor, sleepy communities into bustling areas of commercial activities contributing to national growth and development.
Travel And Tour World – What contributions do you wish to make to travel and tourism that will bring sustainable difference to the society?
Mr. Edmund Bartlett: I am fascinated by UNWTO’s strategic direction in establishing key networks to drive innovative ideas that can transform the operations of small and medium size tourism entities in in areas such as gastronomy and shopping to name but a few.
The political party of which I am a member in Jamaica believes in transforming people’s lives from one of poverty to one of prosperity, and I believe that through creative ideas, innovations and cost effective application of available resources in areas of greatest need, we can create a more prosperous and sustainable tourism industry.
I aspire to the creation of a greater role for the UNWTO in the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by ensuring that our programmes remain consistent with and relevant to those goals.
Travel And Tour World – What are your future plans?
Mr. Edmund Bartlett: : I aim to work assiduously with UNWTO and its nearly 500 affiliates across the globe, to strengthen the tourism sector and enable it to provide the meaningful impact on local communities of which I think it is capable.
UNWTO has been working with governments, public and private partners, development banks, international and regional financial institutions, UN agencies and international organizations to achieve the SDGs, with special focus on goals to:
(i) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all;
(ii) Ensure sustainable Consumption and Production patterns;
(iii) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
I am committed to contribute as much as I can to assist UNWTO in attaining these goals and, at the same time, encourage other partners and stakeholders to join the effort to achieve these targets.
In that regard, I think that it is particularly important that we work with UNWTO to build public/private partnerships (PPPs) and to increase their contribution of creative ideas and new products which can serve as catalysts in transforming lives from poverty to prosperity.