KINGSTON, Jamaica – In an effort to better tap into new markets and emerging markets, Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett leaves the island today (September 22, 2016) for Chengdu, China where he will attend the 22nd World Route Development Forum.
“We are taking strategic steps to ensure that we achieve our goal of attracting five million visitors by 2021. Arranging adequate airlift is paramount to achieving this. While in China, we will be interfacing with key travel partners that operate all across the globe. So, we will use the opportunity to focus on concretizing new route arrangements and to have connectivity from the emerging markets which are crucial to driving growth. We will also be continuing our discussions regarding developing a multi-destination arrangement with China,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister also disclosed that his Ministry will be working in collaboration with GAP (Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico), the operators of the Sangster International Airport, towards developing new routes.
“We want to develop routes from Tijuana to Montego Bay as well as Cancun to Montego Bay. We are also, hoping to have Air Madagascar operate starting this winter, coming out of France which will connect us to the Eastern side of Europe,” the Minister explained.
The Minister will then travel to London to attend the inaugural Jamaica Trade Market trade event. “I think this show is a very significant development for us, as this is the first time that Jamaica is going to be establishing a trade fair on its own to attract European tour operators and businesses. That will go a long way in continuing the growth pattern out of Europe that we have been enjoying over the last few years,” he said.
While in London, he will also meet with key stakeholders as a strategic approach to ease the potential impact Brexit will have on the Jamaican tourism industry.
“We recognize that fallout from Brexit is going to be real and we have to move proactively to bolster our partnerships — particularly within our Diaspora — so as to enable a minimize the impact to be had in Jamaica,” he said.
“I recall how we managed in the recession, when the British market fell by 20% in the Caribbean. But for Jamaica, we fell only by 1%. It took us a little while to get back to growth rate but fortunately for us, by 2014 we were back to the levels that we were in 2010. So with this approach we will be mitigating against any massive fallout,” explained Minister Bartlett.
The Minister will later travel to Yerevan, Armenia, where in his capacity as Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Board of Affiliate Members, he will chair the 38th Plenary Session of the UNWTO Affiliate Members.
“This meeting is significant as it will be held at a crucial time in the development of tourism, which is dealing with numerous exogenous shocks including seismic economic changes and terror, which have heightened uncertainty and invite serious consideration on possible solutions. Tourism has a pivotal role to play in tackling these global problems seeing it is one of the most inclusive and resilient sectors in the world,” Minister Bartlett explained.
While in China and London, Minister Bartlett will be accompanied by the Director of Tourism, Mr. Paul Pennicook. He is expected to return to the island on October 7, 2016.