JAMAICA LEADS THE REVOLUTION IN CARIBBEAN CLIMATE CHANGEJul 17, 2019
Photo: Frenchman's Cove, Credit: JTB
KINGSTON – July , 2019 – Climate change is no longer a future event for tourism - it is altering the decisions of today’s travelers. The world observed the immediate impacts of climate change most recently in 2017 when Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused severe destruction to several islands. As tourism is a top economic driver throughout the Caribbean, and the majority of tourism activities are centred around experiencing its natural beauty, the devastation urged Jamaica to take action in building resilience in the region, starting with the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, and an agricultural sector that would be climate resilient.
“Economic growth in tourism and improvements in the quality of life in Caribbean destinations will depend on our bold commitment to taking action on global issues such as climate change and global warming,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “Our efforts highlight how Jamaica is leading the revolution in Caribbean climate change and will ensure that travelers continue making Jamaica their number one choice around the world.”
Even before the hurricanes in 2017, Jamaica was already working to create a sustainable future by modernizing the grid to improve energy independence and better prepare for impacts of destructive storms. In 2004, Jamaica opened the Wigton Wind Farms, the largest wind farm in the English-speaking Caribbean. It helps to power over 55,000 surrounding homes with a hybrid energy storage system that uses a flywheel and a battery. Jamaica now hopes to build offshore wind farms to generate 50% of all power as part of its national goal using renewable sources, benefiting the travel industry and accommodation sector as well.
Jamaica also places great importance on rebuilding a sustainable agriculture sector. Healthy crops require quality soil, which can be heavily affected by droughts, floods and storms. There is great potential to restore degraded lands through practices such as organic farming, managed grazing, and agroforestry. Durga’s Den, an eco-farm lodge in Jamaica, works in partnership with the hotel industry, using regenerative agriculture techniques, reforestation and training in these practices.
To further promote a climate-smart economy, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, a first-of-its-kind resource in the Caribbean, was developed at the University of the West Indies. First announced during the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Jamaica in November 2017, the Centre was launched in January 2019 with a mission to carry out policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness and crises.
Additionally, the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, launched in Jamaica in August 2018 intends to make the Caribbean the world’s first climate-smart zone with the implementation of solutions for resilience, renewable energy, development of sustainable cities, oceans and transportation. Once the climate-smart zone is established, the Caribbean will not only be custom-built for the future, but it will create economic growth, social inclusion and job creation.
For more information on traveling to Jamaica, go to www.visitjamaica.com.
About Jamaica Tourist Board
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. JTB offices are also located in Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Mumbai.
TripAdvisor® ranked Jamaica as the #1 Caribbean Destination and #14 Best Destination in the World in 2019. Also this year, the International Council of the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) named Jamaica the Destination of the Year and TravAlliance Media named JTB Best Tourism Board, and Jamaica as Best Culinary Destination, Best Wedding Destination and Best Honeymoon Destination. Additionally, the JTB has been declared the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards (WTA) for thirteen consecutive years between 2006 and 2019. Jamaica also earned the WTA’s award for the Caribbean’s Leading Destination, Leading Cruise Destination and Leading Meetings & Conference Centre 2018 for the Montego Bay Convention Centre. Jamaica is home to some of the world’s best accommodations, attractions and service providers that have won several awards throughout the years.
For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica go to the JTB’s Web site at www.visitjamaica.com or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422). Follow the JTB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. View the JTB blog at www.islandbuzzjamaica.com.