Jamaica, Cuba to Sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cuba within the next few weeks, which will provide for joint destination marketing and airlift arrangements between the Caribbean island states.

Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett speaking at a media forum on issues affecting Jamaica’s tourism sector at the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) in Kingston on Thursday (Dec. 11), said the MoU evolved out of negotiations, which Prime Minister Bruce Golding commenced with the Cuban administration earlier this year, when he led a delegation, which included the Tourism Minister, to that Spanish-speaking nation.

“We started the negotiations, and the Foreign Affairs team, along with a team from my Ministry, visited Cuba again. about September, and we are ready now (to sign the MoU),” Mr. Bartlett explained.

The Minister informed that the agreement will facilitate the “marrying” of both countries as destinations of choice for visitors.

“Cuba has very strong European traffic at the moment. Perhaps 60 per cent of the Cuban traffic is out of Europe, for example, there are about 100,000 Italians that go to Cuba every year. The Europeans have the luxury of vacation time. they get three weeks or more,” he said, noting that they could spent some of them time in Cuba and Jamaica.

Mr. Bartlett advised that Jamaica Vacations (JamVac), an agency of the Tourism Ministry, which has responsibility for developing new travel gateways for Jamaica, will be working with entities that co-ordinate flights out of Europe into Cuba, to facilitate code sharing arrangements with Air Jamaica.

In the meantime, he said that Jamaican could benefit from the possible lifting of the United States’ economic embargo on Cuba.

“Jamaica and Cuba, as you know, enjoy a good relationship, and in our marketing, we have looked beyond the opening up of Cuba, and. completed (the) Memorandum of Understanding. We see Cuba’s opening, not as a threat, but as an opportunity for co-marketing and for regional cooperation,” Mr. Bartlett stated.

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