Jamaica and Saudi Arabia are exploring a number of areas in which there can be collaboration between the two countries.
This was disclosed by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, after guiding the Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, on a tour of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at the University of the West Indies, Mona, on Wednesday (June 23).
“One of the key areas that we discussed participation and collaboration in was the development of resilience and crisis management as well as sustainability as critical pillars on which the recovery of tourism has to be predicated. But more so, the importance of building capacity within countries that have tourism as a driver of their economy but are weakly resourced and are highly vulnerable,” said Minister Bartlett.
He further indicated that these countries may be vulnerable to shocks relating to climate change, earthquakes and seismic issues, volcanoes, technology and the impact of digital technology on the ability of people to manage and protect their data.
“We want the world to understand that tourism brings families, regions, countries, peoples and cultures together, and we want to show that the Middle East, Caribbean, Latin America and the rest of the world can be united in one cause of creating a better life for people and to create economic well-being and social cohesion,” Mr. Bartlett added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Al Khateeb, who is visiting Jamaica and the Caribbean for the first time, thanked Mr. Bartlett for inviting him to Jamaica as well as to participate in the discussion about bringing back tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic.
He pointed out that tourism represented 10 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) before the crisis and 10 per cent of the global jobs.
“Unfortunately, the industry was hit hard by the pandemic and we lost a lot in 2020, and now with the vaccine and the opening of many borders, we start the discussion about how the world will look in the future. We started planning for post COVID and learning from the challenges, and sustainability is a very important topic,” he said.
Mr. Al Khateeb was among tourism officials who participated in the blended staging of the 66th meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission of the Americas on June 24.