Bartlett optimistic about frequent flights between Nigeria, JamaicaFriday, January 01, 2021
BY MARK CUMMINGS
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Coming on the heels of the recent inaugural flight from Lagos, Nigeria, to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is optimistic that Jamaica could see a biweekly flight service established between the two countries.
Bartlett said the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and its sister agency, Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), will be undertaking a study to determine the most suitable and comprehensive marketing and promotional campaigns to tap into the Nigerian tourism market, from which Jamaica and Nigeria could see exponential reciprocal trade-offs in tourism and travel, as well as trade and investments, among other areas.
Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer that the JTB and JAMVAC now have an emerging partnership between them to undertake this exploratory feat. This, he said, would be done in conjunction with the tour company Nigerians Travel Too, based in Nigeria.
Bartlett is confident that this is an interesting combination that the Government believes can be very successful.
“We will be exploring the possibilities of establishing tourism and travel, alongside trade and investment between both countries. I can see this emerging in time. The beauty about tourism is that it opens the doors to countless opportunities to include trade and investment,” Bartlett argued.
Aspects of the ongoing discussions between the Nigerian and Jamaican governments is the matter of reviewing visa requirements for citizens wishing to travel to and from both countries.
Last week, the Nigerian privately owned charter (757) jet, Air Peace, landed at the Sangster International Airport, providing the first-ever direct flight from the African continent to Jamaica. A Nigerian government delegation, led by its Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama and wife, Sulola, formed part of the more than 130 passengers and crew that arrived on the aircraft.
Bartlett later convened a meeting with Onyeama and members of his delegation; Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith and Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague. The meeting essentially explored the possibility of establishing bilateral agreements across various spheres to include trade, manufacturing, investments, visa policy and tourism.
Bartlett said they have all concluded that a future does exist in tourism exchange between Nigeria and Jamaica.
“We think that Jamaica is at the right place in making that connection now, which will inure to our future in establishing a new market portfolio,” he stated.
He argued that the flight from Nigeria is of great importance to Jamaica.
“The connection between Africa and the Caribbean and primarily Africa and Jamaica is a very important symbol that we need to ensure that we continue to promote destination Jamaica. In fact, deeper than the symbol, is the reality of the obvious link from an ethnic perspective and in addition to the fact that we share a lot in common, such as cuisine and food type, but particularly that much of who we are emanated from Africa,” said the tourism minister.
He explained that with the projections that Africa is likely to become the new tourism frontier, Bartlett said growth is already being experienced on the African continent, while growth has remained stagnant in other areas, especially since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic.