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Caribbean tourism hotspots Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have unveiled plans for closer cooperation in a range of areas.
Signing a memorandum of understanding on the sidelines of the United Nations Global Conference on Jobs & Inclusive Growth, the destinations pledged to increase collaboration in tourism, trade, sports, culture, and education.
Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness said the deal would bring tangible benefits to both countries and the wider region.
Holness had earlier met with president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina Sánchez, where they discussed a range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues.
He explained: “We both agreed that the tourism sector has grown considerably in Latin America, and especially in the Caribbean.
“For this reason, the time has come to join forces so that the fruits of this growth are distributed more and more in a fair and sustainable way among Caribbean people as a whole.”
The Jamaican prime minster had earlier praised the potential of tourism to aid development in the country.
A new air services agreement, which will complement the memorandum, is currently being negotiated.
“Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have mutual interests in strengthening trade and investment relationships with the aim of creating more opportunities for employment and income generation in both countries,” Holness added.
President Medina said Jamaica had become an important trade partner for Dominican Republic.
He added: “We are two countries with very promising economies, with developments that present the opportunities to overcome these challenges and take care of the needs of our people.”
The latest partnership follows a similar deal with Cuba, with Mexico expected to follow next year.
President Medina added: “This does not mean, of course, that we Dominicans are going to stop promoting the Dominican Republic, or that Jamaicans stop promoting Jamaica as a destination.
“It is simply a matter of recognising that there is a larger market beyond.
“There is a visitor who wants to accumulate more than one experience in his trip, know the richness and diversity of our cultures and take advantage of his visit to this side of the world to travel to different places.
“That opens us, as you know well, a large space for what in technical language is called multi-destination tourism.”
Tourism accounts for roughly a quarter of gross domestic product in the Dominican Republic.