Hon. Edmund Bartlett, the Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, met with Hon. I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment, and Aviation of The Bahamas, yesterday in New York, where both are participating in the annual Caribbean Week celebrations sponsored by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
Announcing the decision made to proceed, Minister Bartlett said, “Jamaica and the Bahamas have entered into a new era of collaboration in consonance with the newtourism view of co-petition as the way forward, as opposed to competition.”
Jamaica is at the forefront of regional cooperation in tourism marketing. Minister Bartlett is leading the multi-destination strategy to promote the Caribbean as one destination where travelers have the opportunity to experience two or more destinations while traveling.
Minister Bartlett outlined that in the collaboration with the Bahamas, “We’re looking at how we can collaborate in the area of air connectivity to begin with. We’re looking at how we can advance the hub and spoke principle and to bring more visitors into our space.”
Jamaica now has multi-destination agreements with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Panama, and there have been talks to establish a similar deal with the Cayman Islands.
According to Minister Bartlett, in order to put this idea into action, some protocols will need to be standardized. These protocols include having a uniform visa policy and clearance procedures that will enable travelers to the Bahamas and other locations to market themselves together and attract more airlines to the region.
The proposed partnership with the Bahamas also takes into account the issue of training and resilience development, which, according to him, “has generated a big discussion around the establishment of a satellite resilience center in the Bahamas.”
Minister Bartlett, who is now the co-chair, founded the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC), which already has centers operating in Jordan, Kenya, and Canada and plans to open more.