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Jamaica forges tourism cooperation with China

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett met with China National Tourism Administration’s (CNTA) Chairman Shao Qiwei on April 15 to discuss tourism between the two nations. This meeting, one of several attended by Minister Bartlett and a Jamaican delegation, who have been in Beijing this week to promote tourism to the island, explored new investment opportunities and enhanced Jamaica-China…

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett met with China National Tourism Administration’s (CNTA) Chairman Shao Qiwei on April 15 to discuss tourism between the two nations. This meeting, one of several attended by Minister Bartlett and a Jamaican delegation, who have been in Beijing this week to promote tourism to the island, explored new investment opportunities and enhanced Jamaica-China cooperation in travel and related areas.  Minister Bartlett and Chairman Shao Qiwei discussed ways to build upon the approved destination status (ADS) agreement signed when China’s former Vice President, H.E. Zeng Qinghong traveled to Jamaica in 2005.  Among ideas exchanged were ways the two nations could work together in areas of training, promotion and development, and preservation and marketing of heritage sites in a sustainable way. 

During the trip, Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett also met with Mr. Li Jianping, Vice President of the China People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), forging a new level of commitment to China/Jamaica tourism.  The meeting focused on formulating a strategic effort to promote two-way tourism between China and Jamaica and to continue fulfilling the promise of the ADS agreement. Minister Bartlett commended China on its steps to grow its tourism product, including tremendous new development and the upcoming hosting of the Olympics. 

In addition to domestic growth, China has also been important in the new development in Jamaica.  Chinese corporations are playing key roles in the development of new resorts, as well as the new Convention Center planned for Montego Bay that is expected to open by the end of 2009.

Jamaica has been undergoing a period of tourism growth, with the country recording its best year of stop over arrivals in 2007, welcoming over 1.7 million visitors. This signaled growth in non-traditional and emerging markets of which China is expected to make a significant contribution in the coming years. Chinese arrivals to Jamaica grew 10.3% in 2007 over 2006, and it is expected that this trend will continue. Minister Bartlett told his counterpart that Jamaica recognizes the efforts of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and congratulated the Administration on China remaining Asia’s largest source of outbound tourism with 40.9 million people travelling abroad in 2007.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett also met with Vice Minister Yang Guao Qing who is responsible for international aviation affairs at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and held discussions on the development of improved airlinks between the two nations. During the meeting with the CAAC, the Vice Minister reiterated his Administration’s commitment to support efforts by Chinese air carriers to develop direct links with the Caribbean.  Minister Bartlett stressed Jamaica’s readiness to explore opportunities in cooperation with China to enhance the airlift to the region that is vital to the success of tourism.  To underscore the importance of air access, the delegation also met with the major players in the aviation industry, Air China and China Southern, China’s largest airline, based in Guangzhou, China.   Minister Bartlett also expressed support for Mexico’s efforts to open direct service to/from China via Aeromexico and members of the delegation discussed the impending opening of this route with Aeromexico representatives.

Already the indications are positive that Chinese visitors are looking at Jamaica.   Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett welcomed more and more Chinese to “Come to Jamaica”…. “Come and experience the diversity of our food, our culture and the warmth of our people.  We welcome Chinese friends to Jamaica, as it is only in experiencing Jamaica that you really know…Once You Go…You Know. ” 

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