The friendly dance Bob Marley style between the Hon. Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett, and His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, continued in Jamaica, and a lime in the coconut was just added.

On tour to Caribbean nations, such as the Bahamas, and Barbados, the Saudi Tourism minister stopped in Jamaica last Sunday.

The Hon Minister Bartlett told said: “I was enjoying a delicious Jamaican coconut water in Montego Bay last Sunday with His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

It appears the lime was put into the coconut. What this lime is may be up to speculation, but judging from numerous previous meetings between the two ministers in Jamaica and Saudi Arabia, there seems to be more and more reason to dance.

Last year, Bartlett said: “For us, this is a game-changer in the making because small countries like Jamaica will never have the capacity to have large airlines like Emirates Airlines or Saudia coming to us with direct flights.

“However, we can benefit from these airlines coming into the Caribbean space, landing here in Jamaica but having distribution to other countries in the region,” he explained. This time a lot happened. Saudi Arabia announced the formation of Riyadh Air, a direct competition to other Gulf airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines.

Funded by the Saudi Government, it becomes realistic for Riyadh Air to make Riyadh the next gateway to the world. It could be assumed Minister Bartlett may want his counterpart Ahmed Al-Khateeb to agree with him to add the Caribbean, and specifically Jamaica, as a destination or, better, a Caribbean hub for Riyadh Air.

HE Ahmed Al-Khateeb has been traveling around the Caribbean, signing MOUs of cooperation regarding tourism promotion, easy entry, such as visa-free facilitation, and other issues opening tourism-wide between Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean.