KINGSTON, Jamaica — Efforts by Jamaica and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to facilitate cooperation and investment in tourism and other key areas have hit high gear as Jamaica is set to welcome its largest delegation of potential investors from the Middle East this week.
This move follows months of negotiations driven by Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, and his colleague Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill.
While providing an update on the initiative, Bartlett disclosed that on Friday (July 8), a delegation of over 70 private sector players and government officials from Saudi Arabia will arrive in Jamaica, adding that the group will include investors in various areas such as “logistics, agriculture, tourism and hospitality, infrastructure and real estate.”
Bartlett explained that this will be the “largest and strongest group of investors to ever come to Jamaica from the Middle East” and he is “excited about the prospects of being able to show them the different investment options” in the Corporate Area, Montego Bay, and other parts of the island.
He revealed also that Jamaica is working with the delegation to “establish the supplies logistics centre” on the island, which will allow goods and services that are needed to drive tourism across the region to be produced by and exported from Jamaica.
The visit is also expected to provide, among other things, well needed foreign direct investment (FDI) to help boost the Jamaican economy. He emphasised that investment will play a critical role in tourism’s recovery by providing the funds necessary to construct and upgrade projects essential to the development and growth of tourism capacity.
Bartlett outlined that the visit by the investors “follows a series of meetings which I had with the Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, during his visit to Jamaica last June. Also involved in those discussions, was my colleague Minister Aubyn Hill.”
“Our visits to the Middle East in 2021 and earlier this year have allowed us to explore opportunities for FDI in our tourism sector as well as build on discussions initiated last June with Minister Al Khateeb,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Minister also revealed that he will be leaving the island for the Dominican Republic today (July 5) to attend the “first ever Caribbean Saudi Arabia Summit.” Bartlett will meet with, among others, “the largest delegation of Saudi Arabian investors to ever visit the Caribbean.”
The summit will facilitate dialogue on investment opportunities in the Caribbean and other areas of collaboration.
The meeting comes amid efforts to finalise the implementation of a multi-destination tourism framework to encourage growth in the sector. Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Cuba, have been key players in the negotiations.
Once finalised this agreement will enable joint marketing arrangements between these countries, while also providing tourists with the option to enjoy multi-destination experiences during their vacations at attractive package prices. Mr. Bartlett said, “it will be a game-changer in tourism diplomacy and economic convergences in the Caribbean region.”
The Minister is scheduled to return to Jamaica on Thursday, July 7, 2022.