PJ Patterson, a former prime minister, has urged the Caribbean to assist African nations in reviving their tourist industries by providing technical assistance and training.
In the Regional Office of The University of the West Indies, Mona, in St. Andrew on Thursday, Patterson gave the opening remarks on the second day of the Global Tourism Resilience Conference.
Patterson claims that the tourism sector has always recognized the importance of ongoing employee training and retraining to meet the needs of visitors. He did point out that the COVID-19 outbreak has increased pressure on the industry, though.
Patterson noted, “The industry experienced a heavy loss of workers during the extended period of lockdown and travel restrictions. The skill sets needed to push the industry forward require training quickly and intensively.”
He continued, “Jamaica and the Caribbean have a strong history of developing institutions to train the workforce in all aspects of tourism. This is an area where we can offer support to our colleagues through technical training in countries in Africa that are currently rebuilding or expanding their tourism industry.”
According to Patterson, the statesman in residence at the P J Patterson Center for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy, Jamaican and Caribbean expertise, and capacity may contribute to the development of an institutional framework for training that might promote the expansion of tourism on the African continent.
He stated, “It can also be of benefit to us in bringing trainees here for exchanges here which will create stronger professional bonds across the Atlantic.”
Patterson said that more resilience should be built against external shocks because the tourist industry’s growth depends on utilizing current technology in order to reach higher levels of economic contribution.
He explained, “Much of this can be done using virtual training platforms and collaborating with each other to ensure that we share resources and best practices both in person and virtually.”
“I have been involved in South-South endeavors for a long time, I think the time come for us to stop talking about it and do something about it,” he noted.
A framework for trade in African-Caribbean tourism must be investigated, according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who spoke at the recent conference’s opening ceremony.
Holness stated, “While the African continent has been increasingly directing its attention towards tourism as a driver of economic development, given its rich cultural heritage, wildlife, and natural resources, there are still many barriers that constrain these efforts.”
He continued, “Consequently, the tourism sector in Africa remains relatively underdeveloped offering significant potential for growth and development.”