Senior academics and global travel and tourism bodies will discuss the geopolitical implications for the sector of the coronavirus pandemic in a live online debate this week.

The event is being hosted by the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) and is part of a series of Edmund Bartlett lectures, named after the incumbent Jamaican tourism minister who founded the centre.

Moderated by the executive director of the Caribbean headquarters of the centre, Professor Lloyd Waller, the discussion will look at the impact of the pandemic on travel in every major region of the planet.

Speakers include Dr Taleb Rifai, former secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), who will focus on the Middle East and the UNWTO’s executive director of world tourism Dr Manuel Butler, who will look at the international community.

In addition ambassador Young-Shim Dho, chair of the United Nations SDGC Advocacy Alumini, will talk about Asia, Lee Mills, professor of crisis management and disaster at Bournemouth University, about Europe, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellors of the University of West Indies, about the Americas, and Professor James B Kungu, director of GTRCMC eastern Africa office, about Africa.

Waller said: “This series of discussions with Minister Bartlett and important leaders in academia as well as travel are meant to be engaging and thought provoking.

“The discussion will highlight the effect of geopolitical influences over decisions made during efforts towards recovery.

“Having just been through the elections here in Jamaica, it is a timely conversation considering the abundance of elections occurring around the world.

“With representation from around the world including the UNWTO, we expect important exchanges to take place.”

The event is being live streamed on Facebook and YouTube and will take place between 9am and 11am (BTS). Registrations are free and open now on

Partners for the Edmund Bartlett Lecture Series include the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the Tourism Linkages Network and the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council.