A delegation of more than 70 private sector players and government officials from Saudi Arabia will arrive in Jamaica on July 8, the largest ever delegation of potential investors from the Middle East that the Caribbean island has ever welcomed at any one time.
The visit is a result of efforts by Jamaica and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to facilitate cooperation and investment in tourism and other key areas. This included months of negotiations driven by Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett and his colleague Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill.
According to Bartlett, the group will include investors in various areas such as “logistics, agriculture, tourism and hospitality, infrastructure and real estate”.
The minister explained that this will be the “largest and strongest group of investors to ever come to Jamaica from the Middle East” and he is “excited about the prospects of being able to show them the different investment options” in the corporate area, Montego Bay, and other parts of the island.
He revealed also that Jamaica is working with the delegation to “establish the supplies logistics centre” in Jamaica, which will allow goods and services that are needed to drive tourism across the region to be produced by and exported from Jamaica.
The visit is also expected to provide, among other things, well needed foreign direct investment (FDI) to help boost the Jamaican economy. Bartlett emphasised that investment will play a critical role in tourism’s recovery by providing the funds necessary to construct and upgrade projects essential to the development and growth of tourism capacity.
The delegation’s planned visit comes in the wake of a series of meetings in Jamaica last June between Minister Bartlett and his counterpart in Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Al Khateeb, during his visit to Jamaica last June. Minister Hill also participated in those earlier talks.
“Our visits to the Middle East in 2021 and earlier this year have allowed us to explore opportunities for FDI in our tourism sector as well as build on discussions initiated last June with Minister Al Khateeb,” said Bartlett.
The Tourism Minister left the island for the Dominican Republic on July 5 to attend the “first ever Caribbean Saudi Arabia Summit” where he will meet with “the largest delegation of Saudi Arabian investors to ever visit the Caribbean” and other event attendees.
The summit will facilitate dialogue on investment opportunities in the Caribbean and other areas of collaboration.
The meeting comes amid efforts to finalise the implementation of a multi-destination tourism framework to encourage growth in the sector. Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Cuba have been key players in the negotiations.
Once finalised this agreement will enable joint marketing arrangements between these countries, while also providing tourists with the option to enjoy multi-destination experiences during their vacations at attractive package prices.
“It will be a game changer in tourism diplomacy and economic convergences in the Caribbean region,” said Bartlett.
The minister is scheduled to return to Jamaica on July 7, 2022.