Jamaica is all set to welcome throngs of Saudi tourists, having signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and an air services agreement with Saudi Arabia in a bid to develop bilateral relations in the field of tourism and investment.
According to Edmund Bartlett, the Jamaican Minister of Tourism, the MoU is expected to help in sharing best practices between the two nations, building human capital, creating skill sets, and developing exciting areas of tourism.
With the Caribbean island nation making efforts to promote itself as the next hot travel destination in the Saudi market, it is only a matter of time before Saudi Arabians are scouring the internet for cheap flights to Kingston.
Increasing air connectivity and tourism
The Jamaican economy is largely dependent on tourism, with the industry contributing over 10% to the country’s gross domestic product. According to Bartlett, good air connectivity with the Gulf countries will make Jamaica a more accessible option to travellers in North Africa and Asia, particularly India and China, giving an added edge to the local tourism industry.
Boosting cruise tourism
Cruising has been a key element of the Caribbean tourist experience, with Jamaica controlling 23 million of the 28 million cruise trips worldwide. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is currently in the process of developing its cruise tourism sector in line with its Vision 2030. The partnership will enable Jamaica to lend its expertise in shore excursions, port infrastructure, and dealing with cruise liners to KSA’s Cruise Saudi project.
Increasing investment opportunities
The MoU gives Jamaica a chance to promote its progressive trade unions, consistent growth rates, and the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t disrupt the local economy. The Jamaican government thus expects to attract foreign investors, creating more jobs and opportunities in the local market.
Scaling up trade activity
According to Bartlett, the agreement would improve trade relations between Jamaica and Saudi Arabia. The increased air connectivity will facilitate exports of human cargo and agricultural produce from Jamaica, and the import of spices and other Saudi specialities.
A tourism supplies logistics hub in the Caribbean will also benefit Saudi Arabia by opening up the Americas for their goods through the sea routes.