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Countries in the Caribbean with diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China will be declared ‘Approved Destinations’ for Chinese tourists, Minister of Foreign Affairs, K.D. Knight has said.
The Minister was speaking at a press conference in Kingston on January 27, to brief journalists on the China/Caribbean Economic and Trade Co-operation Forum and Trade Fair to be held in Jamaica from February 2-5.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) granting approved destination status to a number of Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, will be signed during the visit of His Excellency Zeng Qinghong, Vice President of China, who will attend the opening ceremony of the forum.
With this approved status, the Minister said travel agencies would now be able to channel Chinese tourists to Jamaica.
“If other Caribbean countries are getting this approved destination status then it means that the Chinese tourist is not only leaving China to come to Jamaica but is going to other Caribbean islands. So we now have to look at the Caribbean as providing a multi destination and in that regard, we are again pooling resources,” Mr. Knight said.
During his visit to China last year, Minister Knight said he encouraged some Chinese entrepreneurs to build hotels here in Jamaica. “So very soon, we might be involved in a programme which calls for ground breaking for the construction of a hotel by Chinese investors,” he said, adding that significant benefits could result from this.
Ambassador of China, His Excellency Zhao Zhenyu noted that China’s tourism industry had developed quickly and its outbound tourists had been increasing rapidly over the last decade.
According to the World Tourism Organization and the World Bank, China will grow to be the fourth largest tourist supplier in the world by 2020.
The Ambassador said with the approved destination status and endowed with rich tourism resources, the Caribbean should benefit from the Chinese tourists who would have “easy access to the beautiful Caribbean”.
“Co-operation on tourism between China and the Caribbean countries enjoys expansive market prospects,” he stated.

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