Top tourism official to visit

MONTEGO BAY, St James — The secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, will arrive in Jamaica for the 66th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Americas to be held on Thursday, June 24.

Speaking to reporters at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Tourism meeting at the Montego Bay Conference Centre, Bartlett also revealed that Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb will also attend the meeting.

“Mr Zurab Pololikashvili will visit Jamaica as the special guest for Jamaica’s hosting of the 66th meeting of the Commission of the Americas. Jamaica now chairs the commission and therefore we are the host country for this meeting,” Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett announced, adding that the meeting comes a few months before the general assembly of the UNWTO, which will be held in Morocco in October when Jamaica will be one of the four candidates vying for a seat on the executive council.

“As chair I have been having consultations with the other ministers in the region, and we are hoping that we will have a virtual meeting as per the COVID protocols and we will have the votes virtually as well, if indeed there is going to be a need for voting,” Bartlett said.

Another highlight of the UNWTO secretary general’s visit is that he will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Andrew Holness, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith, before heading off to Mexico on Saturday.

Pololikashvili and Al Khateeb are scheduled to visit the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre at The University of the West Indies.

“The second feature of the activities for us will be the first-ever visit of a Saudi minister of tourism to the Caribbean. And, the minister, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb who is the premier minister of tourism in that region and is also the minister who is supervising perhaps the largest world tourism project, the establishment of what is called the Red Sea project. The Red Sea project is to build out a number of islands in the Red Sea and to create a whole new experience to the tune of some US$40 billion. When completed it is expected to rival the Dubai Palms and all that development that took place in Dubai,” Bartlett stated.

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