Jamaica, The Bahamas Plan Deeper Tourism Collaboration
A new alliance is being forged between two of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations in a drive to develop a cooperative approach to air travel and grow regional tourism.
Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett held talks with Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation for the Bahamas, I. Chester Cooper, in New York. where they were participating in the annual Caribbean Week celebrations organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
“Jamaica and the Bahamas have entered into a new era of collaboration in consonance with the new tourism view of co-petition as the way forward, as opposed to competition,” said Bartlett.
As a matter of policy, Jamaica has been spearheading an initiative of regional cooperation in the marketing of tourism, with Bartlett piloting the multi-destination strategy of promoting the Caribbean as one destination in which travelers have the option of experiencing two or more destinations on their travels, he said.
“We’re looking at how we can collaborate in the area of air connectivity to begin with,” Bartlett said. “We’re looking at how we can advance the hub and spoke principle and to bring more visitors into our space.”
Jamaica has been leading the way on multi-destination tourism cooperation in recent years.
Currently, Jamaica is engaged in multi-destination arrangements with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama and there have been discussions with the Cayman Islands to put a similar agreement in place.
According to Bartlett, the initiative will entail standardizing certain protocols such as having a common visa regime and clearance arrangements that will allow for visitors to the Bahamas and the other destinations to market together and bring more airlines into the region.
The proposed collaboration with the Bahamas also takes into consideration the matter of training and the resilience building, which, he said, “has generated a big discussion around the establishment of a satellite resilience center in the Bahamas.”
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre was founded by Bartlett, who is now its co-chair, with centers already established in three other countries (Jordan, Kenya and Canada) with others in the pipeline.