Jamaica will shortly be launching a major partnership with a number of countries in Latin and Central America to ensure that tourism flow into the island remains high.
In making the disclosure, tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, said discussions regarding the multi-nation partnerships started during the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO which took place in South Korea last month.
Bartlett said as a result of the partnerships, Jamaica will be in good stead to benefit from multi-destination travels which tourists from Latin and Central America embark on each year.
He said: “While I was in South Korea at the UNWTO General Assembly, we developed a joint communiqué regarding multi-destination marketing and airlift arrangements between Jamaica, Columbia and Mexico, and very soon a similar agreement will be signed with Cuba, Panama and the Dominican Republic to ensure that all six countries are inter-connected, with Jamaica being the hub for most if not all the airlines involved in moving tourists.”
On the matter of the impending opening up of Cuba to the tourism world, minister Bartlett said Cuba will be a compliment to Caribbean tourism as that nation will offer products and services which can only boost the diversification of the region.
Bartlett added: “When Cuba opens, that country will be part of that competition and they will be located somewhere down the order in terms of destinations trying to take business away from Jamaica. Jamaica’s reputation as the finest and most attractive destination in the Caribbean and the full fledge entrance of our neighbor will be seen as part of the diversification of the industry”.
“The strategic approach Destination Jamaica has successfully deployed in recent years has ensured the tourism product is continually being renewed and therefore able to maintain a competitive edge.”
In his inaugural speech to tourism stakeholders, at the JHTA 50th Anniversary Banquet last Saturday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, reinforced this point referring to some 15,825 new rooms that were on-stream for a projected completion date of 2013.
In addition, Holness spoke of the five most recent attractions added to Jamaica’s tourism product portfolio, in Galeon Captain Hook Jamaica, Dolphin Cove Negril, Chukka Caribbean Adventures- Falmouth, Club Mobay and Club Kingston and Rapid River Adventures.
The new attractions are at a capital investment of J$1.3 billion and have generated employment for some 595 persons.
Turning to Air lift security, Bartlett said despite the Government’s divestment of Air Jamaica, there are measures in place to ensure that the country’s airlift security remains intact.
He said: “Air Jamaica was a part of the island’s rich national pride and it was painful to see the Airline change hands.
“The Airline is deeply embedded in the hearts of Jamaicans, but disposing of the Airline was an act that the Government had to undertake.
“However, long before the sale of the company, the Government entered into a number of arrangements with international airlines which have ensured that our visitor arrival figures were not negatively impacted.”
These arrangements he said have been mutually rewarding for Jamaica and all its airline partners.
Bartlett was addressing the opening of the 2011 Interline Sales and Marketing Conference at the Secrets Resort in Montego Bay.
Last month Jamaica was recognised by the prestigious World Travel Awards as the Caribbean’s Leading Destination.