As a part of a panel of the 2019 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), held on Tuesday, June 11 in New York City, Minister of Tourism, Honorable Minister Edmund Bartlett spoke about the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and how private-public partnerships serve as catalysts for economic growth and the transformation of local communities in tangible ways.
Minister Bartlett, who participated in a panel discussion titled “From Doing CSR to Being CSR,” said, “CSR must seek to create the balance between the idea of ‘me,’ and the definition of ‘we,’.” The Minister added, “In Jamaica we are working closely with our private sector partners to ensure that the ‘we,’ – meaning the residents of Jamaica – will experience the benefits of social and economic resilience. From our point of view, CSR is about enhancing and improving the quality of our lives locally.”
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Minister Bartlett has been an ardent supporter of engaging the private sector to advance the sustainable development of tourism in Jamaica and globally. Under his leadership, Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism has formed private-public partnerships and alliances that span a range of sectors, including transportation, agriculture, health and wellness, manufacturing, and small business. Some of these partnerships have taken the form of foreign direct investment, particularly in the area of accommodation.
In Jamaica and across the Caribbean, several international resorts are engaging in CSR practices in areas such as community outreach, housing renovations and donations to local schools. In Jamaica, Sandals Resorts is an example of how the private sector can take CSR one step further – beyond corporate philanthropy – by developing sustainable projects with direct linkages to local communities.
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For example, Sandals Resorts has been working with local Jamaican farmers by donating seeds, and then offering a direct market for the reaped produce. In fact, 90 percent of all produce used in Jamaica is procured locally. Sandals Resorts is also investing in climate-related agricultural training at trade schools and in university programs across the country.
“The people of Jamaica are seeing the benefits of these CSR models, and so we are committed to expanding these social enterprise initiatives with our private sector partners to enhance Jamaica’s capacity to derive more from the growth of tourism in our country,” said Minister Bartlett.
The WTTC represents the travel and tourism private sector globally. Its members include more than 170 CEOs, Chairmen and Presidents of the world’s leading Travel & Tourism companies from all geographies, covering all industries.