Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett is moving to increase awareness of Jamaica’s tourism product, not only in existing markets but also in emerging markets, such as Russia.
At last week’s ITB Berlin, Minister Bartlett met with Alexander Radkov from the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism to discuss the strategy for increasing visitor figures from the Federation, similar to that of neighboring islands such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Minister Bartlett in commenting on the meeting said “we are constantly looking at countries outside of our key markets in which to highlight Jamaica, one of the world’s best destination products, with a focus on Brazil and Russia at present. As such I felt it vital to hold talks with the Federal Agency for Tourism in Russia to see what barriers we have to overcome to increase the volume of Russian tourists from the current figure of 3,000 to potentially over 40,000.”
“I must add that this is not the first time we have engaged with the Russians, as discussions have already taken place with the Russian Ambassador to Jamaica, which has ultimately led to this meeting at ITB,” Minister Bartlett outlined.
The Minister explained that “a number of interesting points came from our discussions, with the key point being that with escalating instability in the Middle East and more specifically popular tourist destinations for Russians, such as Egypt, the typical Russian tourist is looking for a credible alternative for a vacation destination, such as within the Caribbean and more importantly Jamaica. Therefore, our Director of Tourism, Mr. John Lynch will be travelling to Moscow this month for further meetings with the Federal Agency for Tourism, airlines and tour operators to see how best we can tackle the issue of direct air connectivity from Russia to Jamaica. This will then pave the way for a higher level meeting with me as Tourism Minister, with a view to securing whatever needs to be achieved in order to open the channels for the Russian tourism market to Jamaica, to significantly increase arrivals into 2011 and 2012.”