As Jamaica seeks to unlock the vast potential of the Latin American (LATAM) visitor market, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has emphasised the importance of multi-destination tourism and 'co-petition' to this initiative.
Minister Bartlett highlighted the issue during his address at the 'Keys to LATAM’ Conference, organised by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and Adtelligent Limited. The conference, held earlier at the Spanish Court Hotel, brought together industry professionals to explore business opportunities in the lucrative Latin American (LATAM) market.
Minister Bartlett underscored that a strong foundation existed for collaboration between Jamaica and Latin American countries, rooted in shared history, cultural ties, and geographical proximity. In this regard, the tourism minister revealed that he recently met with the Ambassadors from Mexico and the Dominican Republic to discuss multi-destination activities geared at collectively boosting tourism offerings across the region.
“This post-COVID period is calling for collaboration and cooperation, removing the notion of competitiveness that has characterised our activities up to this point and replacing it with the notion of ‘co-petitiveness’ so that we ‘co-pete’ rather than compete,” said Minister Bartlett.
He continued: "As we strive to enhance our product and diversify our visitor base, it is imperative that we tap into emerging markets that hold tremendous potential, and Latin America, with its rich heritage, boundless passion, and growing economic influence, promises to be just that.” With Latin America seeing an emerging middle class, which has increasing disposable income that has led to a surge in outbound tourism, Minister Bartlett explained that this demographic's quest for diverse cultural experiences presents a valuable opportunity for Jamaica to position itself as a preferred choice for Latin American travellers seeking unique and authentic experiences.
He underscored the immense economic potential and diversity of the Latin American region, boasting a population of over 650 million people and a combined GDP of over $5 trillion. "My Ministry is targeting just a small fraction of that with a goal of 250,000 visitors from Latin America coming to Jamaica over the next five years as part of our aggressive push to reengage this significant source market," the tourism minister emphasised.
Furthermore, Minister Bartlett detailed his recent rebuilding efforts in the region, leading a team of tourism officials on a three-country market blitz in Argentina, Chile, and Peru. He also alluded to upcoming trips to Columbia, Mexico and Panama. So far, engagements have included critical discussions with tourism stakeholders, representatives of local authorities, ministries of tourism, as well as major regional carriers such as Copa and LATAM Airlines.
The tourism minister expressed optimism that collaborative events like the 'Keys to LATAM' Conference have the potential to not only boost Jamaica's growth numbers but also expand the country's global footprint and stimulate travel demand for the island.