Another alliance is being forged between Jamaica and a key Caribbean tourism partner in a drive to develop a cooperative approach to air travel and grow regional tourism.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett today held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation for the Bahamas, Hon I. Chester Cooper in New York where they are participating in the annual Caribbean Week celebrations organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
Announcing the agreement reached to pursue, Minister Bartlett said, “Jamaica and the Bahamas have entered into a new era of collaboration in consonance with the new tourism view of co-petition as the way forward, as opposed to competition.”
As a matter of policy, Jamaica has been spearheading an initiative of regional cooperation in the marketing of tourism with Minister Bartlett piloting the multi-destination strategy of promoting the Caribbean as one destination in which travellers have the option of experiencing two or more destinations on their travels.
Minister Bartlett explained that in the partnership with the Bahamas, “We’re looking at how we can collaborate in the area of air connectivity to begin with. We’re looking at how we can advance the hub and spoke principle and to bring more visitors into our space.”
Currently, Jamaica is engaged in multi-destination arrangements with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama and there have been discussions with the Cayman Islands to put a similar agreement in place. Minister Bartlett said giving effect to this initiative will entail standardizing certain protocols such as having a common visa regime and clearance arrangements that will allow for visitors to the Bahamas and the other destinations to market together and bring more airlines into the region.
The proposed collaboration with the Bahamas also takes into consideration the matter of training and the resilience building, which, he said, “has generated a big discussion around the establishment of a satellite resilience centre in the Bahamas.”
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) was founded by Minister Bartlett, who is now its co-chair, with centres already established in three other countries (Jordan, Kenya and Canada) with others in the pipeline.