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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, headed a number of government and tourism officials who were on hand, at the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on Friday (December 19), to welcome some 214 passengers who arrived in the island on the inaugural Air Canada Vacations non-stop scheduled air service from Vancouver.
Mr. Bartlett said the flight was sold out weeks in advance, due to the “superb marketing efforts” of the Jamaican team in Canada. The service between Vancouver and Jamaica is the first such from Western Canada to any Caribbean destination.
According to the Minister, who was speaking at the official welcome reception at the airport, additional non-stop flights are scheduled to depart from Canadian gateways throughout the current winter tourist season.
“I am very pleased, indeed, to partner with Montego Bay Jamaica (MBJ) in these regards, as air lifts for us is the essence of our whole activity. I am also very pleased to announce that we now have pretty close to 200,000 seats out of Canada for the winter and summer seasons, and that puts us in the top three in the entire region, comprising the English-speaking,.. Latin.. and.. Francophone Caribbean,” the Tourism Minister informed.
Mr. Bartlett was also said that, despite the challenges of the global economic downturn, expectations of good winter tourist season are high. He pointed out that preliminary visitor arrival figures for this year are, to date, are already showing an increase over the corresponding period last year. Additionally, he said the sector is also seeing the positive results of the Ministry’s aggressive North American marketing and advertising campaign which continues to garner support from major tour operators.
“Despite uncertainties in terms of the way forward, I want to say… that the way to defeat the economic meltdown and downturn is not to be afraid of it, is not to panic. But to pull your socks up, get out into the field, drive the marketing, build your presence, strengthen your relationships and your links, and make sure that those who wish to have a vacation, that Jamaica must be the place that they come to,” Minister Bartlett urged.