When good friends that are also influential tourism ministers shake hands and show sincere smiles, there is a good reason for the global travel and tourism industry to pay close attention.
In this case, such smiles have the potential to set a new trend at the United Nations for World Tourism.
The two most outspoken and influential tourism ministers, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett from Jamaica and HE Ahmed Khateeb from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, met on the sidelines of the UN High-Level Thematic Debate on Tourism in New York yesterday.
The meeting took place at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN. Jamaica and Saudi Arabia agreed on an MOU on tourism collaboration and the development of sustainability and resilience globally.
Minister Bartlett told eTurboNews:
“The importance of this agreement is signaling the first collaboration between a country from the Middle East and the Caribbean on tourism development, tourism strategies, and sustainability and resilience arrangements.
“This important agreement that brings a mature destination such as Jamaica with a new tourism destination such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is going to be critical in the value of exchanging important best practices and very useful guidelines that can benefit both countries.
“I think our two countries, one in the east and one in the west, joining will demonstrate that together we can provide leadership to strengthen sustainability and build resilience.”
Tourism Ministers Edmund Bartlett and Ahmed Al-Khateeb executed the agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York yesterday.
Resilience has been the trademark of Jamaica’s Tourism Minister since he formed the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC) .
Saudi Arabia emerged as the undisputed global leader in tourism during the COVID-19 crisis by investing billions of dollars not only in its own emerging tourism market but by assisting the world of tourism. Jamaica has been a key partner country in this development from the very beginning and is part of the group of countries that joined together to develop an alternative approach for the future of world tourism.
A day before this meeting, the Jamaica Minister addressed the United Nations in New York. This is an unusual task for a tourism minister.