Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett. File photo courtesy Caribbean National Weekly.
KINGSTON, Jamaica--Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett is heading a team of Caribbean tourism officials in Saudi Arabia to cement a major multi-destination tourism arrangement with leading airlines in the Middle East, according to a press release from the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism.
Bartlett, who left the island on the weekend, was also a key panellist on Tuesday, November 29, during a high-level discussion on “Enhancing Our Resilience” at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from November 28 to December 1.
Minister Bartlett said on his trip to the Middle East, he would be co-ordinating a group of Caribbean ministers meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Airlines in Riyadh, which is being facilitated by Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Al Khateeb. The GCC owns some 13 airlines with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia dominating the market, according to the release.
“The purpose of this engagement is to bring the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market into the Caribbean. This is a dream that we’ve had and a programme that I’ve worked on for a number of years to build multi-destination tourism and to enable new markets from the far-flung areas to come into the Caribbean,” Bartlett divulged.
He added that the intention was to have the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay serve as a hub for these airlines and from there, distribute to the rest of the region.
Pointing out that this will be the first time that any Caribbean team will be meeting with travel partners in the Middle East for the purpose of attracting new visitors to the region, Minister Bartlett said they would also be meeting with a number of tour operators, travel agents and other airlines, the release states.
One of Bartlett’s assignments at the WTTC Global Summit was to chair a task force on global tourism workers’ employment arrangement. “The purpose of this task force is to build out a global charter for employment among tourism workers, coming out of the recession fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he disclosed.
Stating that there was an awareness that many things had changed, Minister Bartlett said: “We recognise that we have to develop a new global tourism labour arrangement that will be more attractive to workers and will enable a more sustainable working ecosystem for the tourism industry.”
For the panel discussion on “Enhancing our Resilience” on Tuesday, Bartlett joined Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, the Seychelles; Dan Richards, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder, Global Rescue; Robin Ingle, CEO, Ingle International Inc; and Debbie Flynn, Managing Partner, Global Travel Practice Leader, FINN Partners, with Arnie Weissmann, Editor in Chief, Travel Weekly as moderator.
The session explored how the global travel and tourism sector can “use the learnings from COVID-19 to better prepare for crises ranging from climate change to biodiversity loss,” according to the release.
Several other far-reaching topics of utmost importance to tourism globally, are being explored during the summit, including Travel for a Better Future; To Recovery and Beyond; The Return of Travel and Capitalizing on Untapped Opportunities.
Minister Bartlett is slated to return to the island on December 2, the release concludes.