KINGSTON,JAMAICA - As Jamaica seeks to accelerate tourism recovery with a focus on non-traditional markets Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced that plans are in train to boost air connectivity between the Middle East and the Caribbean, with Saudia Airlines set to expand flights to Jamaica by summer 2022.
This announcement follows Minister Bartlett’s recent travels to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to explore investment opportunities and boost tourism travel to Jamaica.
“The last two weeks have been very eventful for us in trying to carve out the new markets in the Middle East that will give us the connectivity to Africa, Asia and Asia Minor. We have had discussions in Dubai and in Riyadh. The discussions with Saudia Airlines are well advanced and we’ve had an understanding that there is an ambition for engagement by summer of 2022,” said the Tourism Minister.
“The details of that arrangement are being worked out with Saudia and another carrier that will make the possibility for connectivity easier and more seamless in the short run. So we are very excited about seeing the Middle Eastern gateway opening to Jamaica,” he added.
Minister Bartlett noted that the broader strategy is to have Jamaica become the hub for connectivity from the Middle East through to the Caribbean, Central America, South America and areas of North America. This will position Jamaica as being central to air connectivity between the East and West. “We are very confident that we will see results from this in short order as both airlines that we have spoken to have shown a strong appetite for the Caribbean and, more so, Latin America,” he said.
Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, is the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia. It is the third largest in the Middle East in terms of revenue, behind Emirates and Qatar Airways. It operates domestic and international flights to over 85 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.