Jamaica minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has joined delegates at the Global Citizen Forum in Ras al Khaimah.
The event took place under the patronage of sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, and welcomed more than 450 luminaries from around the world to the emirate.
The Canadian non-profit organisation seeks to drive a global community of leaders and catalysers to unlock the potential of global citizenship.
Global citizenship is based on the deep conviction that humanity exists within a context of complete interconnectedness.
As citizens of the world, Global Citizen Forum understands that global challenges are not defined by borders, regions or nationalities and everybody shares a social conscience to address and overcome them, together.
Speaking at the event, minister Bartlett, argued tourism was the key driver for cross border activity.
He explained: “We need to examine how smaller countries are faring from the Covid-19 pandemic and what opportunities present themselves as the world recovers.
“Tourism presents itself as the most critical cross border activity today, bringing wealth, allowing the transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor.
“As a plane flies, it brings wealth, converting it immediately, and as a cruise ship arrives, the same thing happens – it gets immediately into the pocket of an ordinary man.
“It is very important – 80 per cent of the value of tourism is driven by the small- and medium-sized enterprises, the ‘little people’.
“But, sadly, only 20 per cent of the profits go to this group, and this need to be rebalanced.”
The event was hosted in partnership with the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority to reimagine a new momentum for human mobility.
Minister Bartlett added: “There is pent-up demand for tourism experiences, and Covid-19 is driving tourism away from the centre, and towards the periphery, smaller countries.
“This allows us to take advantage of new opportunities to create wealth.
“Small countries, such as Jamaica, are finding this is the moment where we can help to reset tourism; and the good news is that the traffic has been moving in our area.
“In our case, in Jamaica, we have seen a recovery of 70 per cent in the tourism sector, primarily due to our proximity to the largest tourism market in the world in the USA.
“Cross border activities have been influenced by closures, and we have managed to secure a low-level of Covid-19 – coupled to the Resilience Corridors we have introduced, we have allowed people to enjoy their visit.
“The pandemic has enabled smaller countries, such as Jamaica, to bring their careful management of Covid-19 to the attention of the larger markets – allowing for a recovery.”
Find out more about the Global Citizen Forum on the official website.