When Liberian nationals Edward Neufville and Bahia Akerele chose Jamaica as the destination for their wedding, they had no idea inkling of the pleasant surprise that would await them when they arrived at the Sangster International Airport on Tuesday (Dec. 15).
The couple, who reside in the United States, was the first visitors to arrive in the tourist capital for the start of the Winter Tourist Season yesterday.
As they disembarked from the Air Jamaica flight from Baltimore, they were warmly greeted by tourism officials and showered with gifts, including return tickets to the island, accommodation at Iberostar in Montego Bay, books and matching t-shirts.
On hand to welcome the visitors were Director of Tourism, John Lynch; Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, Carole Guntley; Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer; and the Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker.
The couple, who is scheduled to marry on Saturday, December 19 at the Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay, said they were overwhelmed by the warm reception.
Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, Carole Guntley (left) presents a new cap to Sangster International Airport Red Cap Porter, Kerron Walker. The porters were presented with caps on Tuesday (Dec. 15) at a ceremony held at the airport to mark the start of the Winter Tourist Season.
Mr. Neufville said that they chose Jamaica for their wedding because, “Jamaica is the place to go. I’ve heard a lot about it.”
“This is my first time here but Bahia has been here two or three times and she recommended that we come. I also have a few friends, who come from Jamaica,” he said.
He said that the welcome was indeed a wonderful way to start his new journey as a husband and that he is looking forward to a second visit to the island soon.
Miss Akerele, for her part, said she felt at home in Jamaica. “The reason I chose Jamaica for my wedding is that I’ve travelled to many other Caribbean islands for destination weddings and I felt that Jamaica was the most receptive to Africans and to bring 80 or so Africans to an island, we specifically chose Jamaica because this is what makes us feel at home,” she gushed.
As part of the welcome activities, red cap porters at the airport were presented with new caps as part of their uniform attire.
“I want to thank the Minister of Tourism and his team for presenting us with these caps. I think that this season, we are going to look like one of the finest groups at the airport,” said President of Montego Bay Airport Red Caps Porters Association, Levi Smith said, assuring that they would continue to carry out their duties professionally and to the best of their ability.