Jamaica and Saudi Arabia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the development of sustainable and resilient tourism between the two nations.
The agreement was made between the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Tourism Minister, Jamaica and HE Ahmed Khateeb, Tourism Minister, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The signing took place at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN, on the occasion of the UN High Level Thematic Debate on Tourism.
The two tourism ministers also aim to set a blueprint for a new trend at the United Nations on how to develop sustainable tourism on a global level.
Minister Bartlett said: “The importance of this agreement is signalling the first collaboration between a country from the Middle East and a Caribbean country on tourism development, tourism strategies, and sustainability and resilience arrangements.
“This important agreement that brings a mature destination such as Jamaica with a new tourism destination such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is going to be critical in the value of exchanging important best practices and very useful guidelines that can benefit both countries.
Saudi Arabia has investing significantly in its own emerging tourism market but by assisting the world of tourism. Jamaica has been a key partner country in this development and is part of the group of countries that has joined together to develop an alternative approach for the future of world tourism.
Minister Bartlett added: “The resources available to share in sustainability strategies and action, as well as resilience and the building of capacity for countries such as Jamaica which are least resourced to manage the vulnerability they face is going to be critical.”
“I think our two countries, one in the east and one in the west, joining will demonstrate that together we can provide thought leadership to strengthen sustainability and build resilience.”
Resilience has been the trademark of Jamaica’s Tourism Minister since he formed the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC).
Co-founded in 2018 by Bartlett and former secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai, the GTRCMC, headquartered in Jamaica, was established to address disruptions and crises in tourism. The centre is based at the University of the West Indies, and is the first academic resource centre dedicated to addressing crises and resilience for the travel industry in the Caribbean.
The body assists destinations in preparedness, management, and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally.
Since its inception, several Satellite Centres have been launched in Kenya, Canada, Jordan and Bulgaria. Others are in the process of inscription in Costa Rica, Nigeria, Spain, Greece and Ghana.
Last year Jamaica was voted ‘World’s Leading Family Destination’, ‘World’s Leading Wedding Destination’, ‘Caribbean’s Leading Destination’ and ‘Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board’ by voters of World Travel Awards.
Meanwhile, Riyadh, capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will host the World Travel & Tourism Council 22nd Global Summit from 29 November to 2 December this year, with the global leaders of travel and tourism in attendence.