Jamaica eyes India/UAE tourism market
BARTLETT...all a traveller needs to do is follow the protocols: anegative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrivalin Jamaica

Jamaica is seeking to build its tourism linkages with India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica is now having talks with airlines operating in India with a view to laying the groundwork for seamless tourism travel between Jamaica and the Asian country. Prior to the pandemic, Jamaica had good promotional value in India.

According to Bartlett, “We expect it will take some time to regain the footfall. We are actively working with many major airlines for developing new routes to travel to Jamaica and make the travel from India even more seamless. Airlines that connect India and the US are all on our road map for this goal.''

Jamaica is very keen to open new routes between the island and India, making the destination more accessible for Indian tourists. The tourism minister added that his team is working with travel and hospitality partners to develop special offers for Indian travellers to restart tourism.

He asserted that, “all a traveller needs to do is follow the protocols: a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival in Jamaica; complete travel authorisation form and get an approval to the entry and follow all other protocols like wearing a mask, proper sanitation. “A resilient corridor has been established which has provided a very safe and seamless accommodation for the country.”

Fruitful tourism talks in the UAE

Jamaica and the United Arab Emirates have just ended talks about introducing a unique flight between the two countries early next year. In making the announcement in the UAE last week, Bartlett revealed that he has initiated discussions with top representatives of Emirates Airlines for flights between Dubai and Jamaica.

The announcement comes as the minister concluded marketing activities in the UAE with a crucial meeting with senior executives of Emirates Airlines at their Dubai headquarters. A major element of the wide-ranging discussion was the possibility of introducing a special service between Dubai and Jamaica, in celebration of Jamaica Day at Expo 2020, Dubai in February 2022.

According to Bartlett, “We agreed to explore the feasibility of arranging this flight, details of which are to be worked out as soon as possible. There was also a productive discussion around tourism and airline recovery prospects and the positive V-shape pattern being experienced by Jamaica and Dubai.” .

He stated that further discussions will be held in the context of multi-destination strategies being formulated in the northern Caribbean to enable a more fulsome engagement of the UAE and other partners in the Middle East. Emirates Airlines is the largest airline in the UAE and the Middle East overall, operating over 3,600 flights per week.

While in the UAE, Minister Bartlett and his team also met with the country's Tourism Authority to discuss collaboration on tourism investment from the Middle East as well as tourism initiatives and gateway access for North Africa and Asia and facilitation of airlift.

There were also meetings with executives of EMAAR, arguably the largest and most prestigious hospitality and real estate/community developer in the Middle East; DP World, one of the world's largest port and marine logistics companies; DNATA, the single largest tour operator in the UAE and TRACT, a powerful tour operator in India.

He also met with members of the Jamaican Diaspora in the UAE; and three major airlines in the Middle East — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar.

The tourism minister is now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he will speak at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII). This year's FII will include in-depth conversations about new global investment opportunities, analysis of industry trends, and unparalleled networking among CEOs, world leaders, and experts.

He is joined by Senator Aubyn Hill in his capacity as minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for water, land, business process outsourcing (BPOs), the Special Economic Zone Authority of Jamaica and special projects.

From the UAE, Minister Bartlett will head to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he will speak at the 5th Anniversary of the FII. This year's FII meeting will include in-depth conversations about new global investment opportunities, analysis of industry trends, and unparalleled networking among CEOs, world leaders, and experts.

Minister Bartlett and his team will return to the island on Saturday, November 6, 2021.

BY DURRANT PATE Observer business writer

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