George Brown College partners with UWI in developing Global Tourism Centre

From left: Lloyd G. Waller, Edmond Bartlett, Gervan Fearon and Ian Austin

George Brown College in Toronto has become the first Canadian partner of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), based at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

In making this announcement last Friday at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Centre and George Brown College, Dr. Gervan Fearon, president of the college, said that as a key element of the partnership, the college will establish “a satellite centre.”

“This centre will focus on research and development, policy advocacy and communication management program and project design and management and training and capacity building,” he said.

“Further, it will facilitate the exchange of knowledge between our countries in order to benefit global tourism,” he added.

Signing the MOU on behalf of George Brown College was Dr.Fearon while Edmond Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, signed on behalf of the GTRCMC.

The signing ceremony took place at the Jamaica Canadian Association Centre.

Dr. Fearon noted that the partnership comes “at a critical time, as the tourism industry recovers from the global COVID-19 pandemic and confronts socio-economic fallout from the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army.

“At George Brown College, we believe that by working together to research and anticipate future disruption, we will enable global tourism destinations and the industry to enhance its resilience and recover more effectively from crises.

“We look forward to establishing international learning exchanges, joint teaching between our institutions, as well as industry-focused student exchange and applied research activities.”

He noted that in all countries, tourism is facing a growing array of disruptions and challenges – from pandemics to natural disasters, and cyber-security threats to a host of other challenges – and that to ensure the vitality and growth of the tourism sector – as well as the communities and economies that rely on it – “we must learn to better anticipate and manage future challenges and current difficulties.”

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Jamaican tourism minister noted that the vulnerability of tourism to disruption is compensated by its resilience.

Bartlett described tourism as “the most resilient of all industries.

“It bounces back faster…”

“As the cruise ships dock, it instantaneously brings economic activity to the people.”

“Even today, as we are seeing the recovery emerging from the pandemic, tourism is there again at the centre of the recovery for us in Jamaica, part of the most tourism dependent regions in the world,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett announced at the signing ceremony that several other “global resilient centres “ will be established in North America.

“We will be looking at Florida next and then we will be going to London,” he said.

Among those present at the signing ceremony were Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minster of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Sharon Miller, High Commissioner for Jamaica in Canada, Lincoln Downer, Consul General for Jamaica in Toronto and Angella Bennett, Regional Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board.

The GTRCMC was established in 2018 by the Jamaican tourism minister and Dr. Taleb Rafai, former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, as a global think tank that focuses exclusively on building resilience and managing crises that disrupt tourism.