As part of the fulfilment of the requirement of their degree, The University of the West Indies, Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), Events Management Class of 2020, hosted a regional three-day virtual Conference from November 25 to 27, 2020.
Under the theme, “Revamping Caribbean Tourism Post COVID-19” the high-level conference offered robust panel discussions led by regional experts who focused on how to innovatively pivot from the Pandemic. Event chair and final year tourism management Major, Ms. Chloe Lewis, expressed that “the nine extraordinary sessions provided Caribbean nationals from the tourism frontline to senior management; policymakers; academics; students, and the general public an amazing insight into strategies being considered for developing a far more ‘resilient and resistant’ Caribbean tourism product in the post-COVID-19 era.”
Led by MSBM lecturer, Ms. Bennie Watson, the team masterfully pulled together some of the region’s best minds and tourism practitioners as they sought solutions to resilient-proofing Caribbean tourism industry. Among the conference’s featured speakers were the Honorable John King, Barbados’s Minister of Culture and National Development; US Virgin Island Senator, Terrence Nelson; Dr. Carey Wallace, the Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund; Kamal Bankay, Jamaica Linkages Council, Chieftin Campbell – Dream Entertainment; Jin Forde a Trinidad based fashion designer; Dr. Seymour Douglas, a Vice President of Market and Research at Expedia; representatives from the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA), including Ocho Rios Chapter president, Ms. Vanna Taylor; Hoteliers such as Jason Henzell and Alexandra Pike and Nicola Madden Greig; Academics including Dr. K’adamawe Knife; Cannabis researcher Dr. Stephen Barnhill, and advocate Joan Webley; Vincentian recording artiste, Kevin Lyttle, and Barbadian Calypsonian, the Mighty Gabby were also among those offering practical solutions to the problems being faced by the Caribbean tourism industry..
Hosted on the MSBM Zoom platform and YouTube channel, conference attendees were from as far away as the Maldives, Ghana, the USA and Greece. There was also strong regional participation including attendees from Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
The conference received major sponsorship from the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism-Linkages Council. A secondary, but extremely important objective of the conference was to secure tablets for students at the neighboring Mona Heights Primary School. On Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at a handing over ceremony planned by the MSBM tourism students, nine (9) tablets were delivered to Education, Youth and Information Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, at a function hosted at the Mona Heights Primary School. Five (5) tablets were direct donations from the conference’s main sponsor, the Tourism Linkages Council, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund; Two tablets (2) were donated by the Pawn Shop; and the additional tablets were purchased through funding provided by the Jamaica Tourist Board.