Regional

Tourism minister wants faculty of tourism in MoBay

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter

Monday, March 25, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has recommended that all tourism studies at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) be amalgamated and offered from their new Western Jamaica campus, for which ground was officially broken at the Barnett Estate here on Friday.

“...It is time for The UWI to reimagine its tourism portfolio and consolidate its programmes, courses, institutes, centres, etcetera, under one roof here in one of the Caribbean's mecca of tourism (Montego Bay) with the establishment of a school or a faculty of tourism,” Bartlett expressed.

Noting that with The UWI being recognised globally “as a powerful intellectual institution”, this would position the university to make “an even more substantive contribution to the development of the region through such a faculty or school”.

“Certainly, this effort would have my support, and although I cannot speak for my Caribbean counterparts, I am more than certain it would also have the support of the government of the region. More specifically, in keeping with the mandate of the administration that I am a part of, I reiterate my commitment to promoting a sustainable tourism product that advances the well-being of local communities and that incorporates more local talent in the delivery of tourism services,” Bartlett stated.

He was delivering the keynote address at the official groundbreaking of The UWI Western Jamaica campus at the Barnett site.

For his part, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal, Mona campus, Professor Dale Webber, noted that upon completion, the new facility, which is going to be the flagship “of what the university does in western Jamaica”, will, among other disciplines, offer studies in tourism and business process outsourcing (BPO).

“We want a world-class school of management which will cover BPO management, financial management, tourism management, all that we would like to have. We want the global tourism sustainable effort to be a major part of what we do, but at a level that does not cause confusion or competition with those who are already operating in the space. We want to partner with those who are already there,” Professor Webber revealed.

“When the Western Jamaica campus was first started up, I must confess it was a knee-jerk reaction. We came very hurriedly in response to other circumstances. Not so this time. We have asked and we have heard. The west has some special unique contributions to Jamaica that The University of the West Indies would like to be a part of. We want to be a part of the development as it unfolds in western Jamaica. We would like not just to replicate what happens in Kingston, but to make a niche specific response to that which is required within western Jamaica and our Barnett site is going to be that response.”

He noted that a variety of courses will be offered at the new facility.

Accomodtaion facilities, which will sit on 33,000 square feet of the property, will be “completed in one year”.

The venture is a partnership with stakeholders in Montego Bay, including Barnett Limited, with whom the university signed an agreement of sale on May 16, 2014.

For Mark Kerr Jarrett, managing director of Barnett Limited, the partnership with The UWI is not a mere business transaction.

“We realise that this institution is about more than money and returns; it is about the fulsome development of Jamaica and more importantly our people,” he said.


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