H.E Edmund Bartlett
C.D., M.P. Minister of Tourism, JAMAICA
Hon. Edmund Bartlett is a dynamic, results-oriented leader, recognized for his wide-ranging expertise and accomplishments in both tourism and politics.
He is by nature an innovator and a visionary; attributes which have underscored Mr. Bartlett’s forty-one years of successful service to the nation. Whether providing strategic guidance to his portfolio Ministry or overseeing the overall development of Jamaica’s tourism industry, he always seeks to add value and create opportunities.
Mr. Bartlett was first appointed Minister of Tourism in 2007, serving until December 2011. Prior to this, he already had a solid record of accomplishment as an outstanding legislator in central government in both Chambers of Parliament. He served as Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting & Culture in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Sports & Community Development from 1980 to 1989; later he served as Senator and Opposition Spokesman on various portfolios, including Tourism, from 1989 to 2007.
While serving in the shadow Cabinet following his first stint as Tourism Minister, Mr. Bartlett travelled the world forging alliances with strategic partners for global initiatives. He returned to the helm of the Ministry of Tourism following the 2016 and 2020 general elections and is presently the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives in the lower House.
Under his leadership, tourism has been positioned as a catalyst for sustainable and inclusive growth, through job creation, Public Private Partnerships (PPPS), wealth creation and community transformation. Mr. Bartlett firmly believes that all Jamaicans should benefit from the success of this major economic earner and has been the driver of the Tourism Linkages Network, a department under the Tourism Enhancement Fund, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, which creates a hub within the tourism industry mapping it with other sectors such as Agriculture, Entertainment, and Manufacturing in an effort to ensure that all nationals have the opportunity to benefit from the tourism sector while maximizing the consumption of local goods and services within tourism communities.
The Honourable Edmund Bartlett in 2019, facilitated the First United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Conference on Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), a collaboration between the Government of Jamaica and the UNWTO. The aim of which was to augment the SMTE’s capacity to operate in the sector and enable stronger economic growth through the institution of loan programmes, where such entities will have access to funding agencies to source the capital required for their development and resilience in the face of disasters. A man for the people, Minister Bartlett has lobbied for and institutionalized the first Tourism Workers Pension Scheme in the Caribbean, which became effective in January 2020, and is the biggest human capital development game-changer in the history of Jamaica’s tourism sector with the commitment of improving the welfare of diligent tourism workers and related industries, such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and attractions workers, who have given their lives to building the nation’s tourism sector.
He has become a powerful voice and tireless advocate for global tourism resilience. He is Founder and Chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) at the University of the West Indies, Mona and has partnered with Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, where the first Satellite Centre of the GTRCMC has been established, to facilitate East African countries’ mitigation and management of tourism disruptions. The GTRCMC with satellite centres in Kenya, Jordan, Canada and Bulgaria is dedicated to conducting policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness, management and recovery due to disruptions and crises that impact global tourism. The African Tourism Board, a part of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners, in 2018 appointed Minster Bartlett to its Board of sitting Ministers, to help promote the sustainable growth of the hospitality sector in Africa. He is also Co-Chair of the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council, an entity committed to the development of sustainable frameworks to support destinations and businesses to minimize the impact of crisis situations, yet maximize learnings while embedding a resilient culture.
As one of the world’s leading Tourism Ministers, Mr. Bartlett has represented Jamaica regionally and internationally. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Affiliate Members of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Vice Chairman of the UNWTO Executive Council during his first tenure as Minister of Tourism, the Chair of the UNWTO Regional Commission of the Americas (CAM), and Vice Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). While Mr. Bartlett has served as the Vice Chair of the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee on Tourism (CITUR), he is presently the Chair of the OAS-CITUR, elected by acclamation during a meeting of the Integral Council for Development (CIDI), which took effect on December 2, 2021.
Since the outbreak of the novel Corona Virus (COVID- 19) and its first recorded case in Jamaica in March 2020, Minister Bartlett, through the Ministry established the Resilient Corridor, a concept designed to define a physical space and the entities within, stretching from the western tip of the island to the east along both the north and south coast, encompassing hotels, restaurants and tour attractions as deemed accessible by tourist and visitors alike, thus creating a safe space for the continuity of the tourism sector. This has been globally recognized by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and was sealed with its SafeTravels Stamp.
Mr. Bartlett has copped numerous awards for his years of dedicated service in tourism, including:
- The Jamaica Observer Man of the Year Award, 2009
- The Conferment of the Commander of Number of the Order of the Civil Merit of Spain by the order of the King of Spain, His Majesty Juan Carlos I, 2010
- The Jamaican National Award of The Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD), 2012
- World Travel Award’s World’s Leading Personality Award for outstanding services to travel and tourism, 2016
- African Diaspora World Tourism Awards’ Caribbean Tourism Minister of Distinction Award, 2016
- Caribbean Tourism Minister of the Year at the Caribbean Travel Awards, 2017
- International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) Champions in Challenge Award, 2018
- Pacific Area Travel Writers Association’s (PATWA) Tourism Minister of the Year for Sustainable Tourism, 2018
- Travvy Awards Inaugural Chairman’s Award for Global Tourism Innovation, 2019
- RJRGleaner Hospitality Jamaica Pioneer Award, 2019
- Gusi Peace Prize Award, 2020
- Recognition as a Global Icon in travel and tourism for innovation and creating new benchmarks in the travel, aviation, tourism, hospitality and allied services and recorded in a book written by veteran journalist, and Secretary General of the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA), Sagar Ahluwalia, 2022
Jamaica has received multiple destination awards under his leadership from the World Travel Awards during his tenure as Minister of Tourism.
Minister Bartlett is the co-editor of ‘Tourism Resilience and Recovery for Global Sustainability and Development: Navigating COVID-19 And the Future’, the first book on tourism resilience, published in January 2022
Beyond his ministerial duties, Mr. Bartlett has continually championed the advancement of education, skills training and job creation as ways of improving the lives of his constituents in East Central St. James. He is very passionate about education and has therefore focused his efforts on creating scholarships for both students and teachers, thus raising the bar for educational achievements. He has also worked tirelessly to improve the welfare of the elderly and disabled in his constituency.
Minister Bartlett has been married for over 47 years and has one child and two grandchildren. His passions include cricket, dominoes and dancing.