JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has described the growth in tourism from Canada to Jamaica as phenomenal.
“Three years ago, we were welcoming 163,000 Canadians to Jamaica, and last year we were just a few visitors shy of 300,000 Canadians,” Mr. Bartlett told a packed room of over 200 Canadian travel agents, tour operators and airline partners, attending a Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) trade show and reception on Wednesday (September 22), at the Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver, Canada.
The Minister said he is very proud of the partnerships established, which have seen steady growth from Canada to Jamaica, and he thanked the travel partners for enabling Jamaica “to leap frog over a number of older and more traditional destinations in the last three years.
“We are now the number three outbound destination from Canada, behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic,” he said.
The Minister said the target for Canada in 2010 is 330,000; for 2011, more than 350,000; for 2012, approximately 400,000; and by 2015 the number of Canadian visitors to Jamaica should reach 500,000.
The travel trade group was also given several pieces of positive news, including that TripAdvisor, a travel guide and research website, has named Jamaica number three out of the top 10 island getaways; that Newsweek has named Jamaica in the top 50 places to live in terms of “education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and political environment”; and this coming winter season, there will be 69 weekly flights from Canada to Jamaica, representing a 25 per cent increase.
Director of Tourism and Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), John Lynch, said that in the past six months Canadian arrivals have increased by more than eight per cent.
“When we look at our numbers from Canada over a three-year period, we find we have seen a total growth of 76 per cent,” Mr. Lynch told the group of travel partners, thanking them for their continued support of Jamaica.
“We recognise that without you many Canadians would miss out on the pleasure of visiting our island home. We, therefore, want to publicly tell you that we appreciate your efforts to sell the destination,” he said.
He added that Jamaica will continue to deliver its promise of excellent vacation values to their clients, and noted that, as the country continues to experience a boom in development, the best is yet to come.
In highlighting some of the upcoming events to take place in Jamaica, the Director of Tourism made mention of the 47th Port Antonio Marlin Tournament; the Rose Hall Triathlon and Wellness Festival; the Negril Reggae Marathon and Half-Marathon; the annual Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival; and ‘Caribbean Marketplace’ in January at the brand new convention centre in Montego Bay.
Mr. Lynch also added his appreciation to the JTB’s team in Canada, headed by Regional Director, Sandra Scott, for once again being selected as Canada’s top tourist board by travel agents from all across the country.
Representatives from several Jamaican hotels and some of the Canadian travel partners also addressed the gathering, including Wexford Court; Sandals; Iberostar; Grand Palladium; SuperClubs; Rondel Village; Air Canada Vacations; Sunwing Vacations; Sunquest; WestJet Vacations; and Transat Holidays.
Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Lynch and Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), Lionel Reid, were in Vancouver to attend the World Routes Development Forum, at which hundreds of representatives from airports, airlines and tourism boards met for three days.

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