Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has called for closer relationships between Africa and the Caribbean, stating that it would provide “a wonderful opportunity for a reverse Diaspora experience”.
Speaking at the African Tourism Investment Summit, Bartlett said he believes that “we, from the new world, can give back to Africa based on our expertise and our investment resources in building the tourism that the Caribbean has become very famous and proficient in delivering. This is our chance to give back to Africa and tourism can be the vehicle.”
The African market of 1.3 billion people is being eyed as the next big source market for tourists to Jamaica as the industry seeks to diversify beyond traditional markets in North America and Europe.
In furtherance of this objective, exploratory talks have been held with representatives of Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, and Rwanda Air concerning regular air service between Africa and Jamaica.
“This will not only open up the African market to the Caribbean but, also Jamaica will become the gateway by which persons in North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean may travel to the African continent,” Bartlett said.
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, which is headquartered in Kingston, is looking to expand its satellite network in Africa. Currently, there is one centre in Africa, located at Kenyatta University in Kenya. However, there have been initial talks with Nigeria and Botswana.
The African Tourism Investment Summit has attracted hundreds of delegates, including government ministers, investors, private equity firms, venture capitalists, decision makers, international buyers, and travel professionals.