Jamaica has overtaken Cancun as the third most popular destination for Canadians.
Between January and September this year, the number of stopover visitors from Canada was 190,000, the same number recorded for all of 2007.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said that Jamaica would now be working to overtake the Dominican Republic as the number two destination for Canadians, and then Cuba, the number one spot.
Addressing Jamaica’s travel partners in Vancouver, Canada, on October 16, the Minister thanked them for their assistance in making Jamaica a favourite destination for Canadians.
Commending the Regional Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), in Canada, Sandra Scott and her team, the Minister said a projection of 250,000 Canadian visitors to Jamaica by the end of the year and 300,000 visitors for 2009, is not far-fetched.
“We are projecting 300,000 persons, because we have the capacity to do it. Even at its present size, Jamaica’s potential is well beyond 300,000 visitors annually from Canada,” he said.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett (right), in discussion with Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), Lionel Reid and Past President of the Jamaica Canadian Cultural Association of British Columbia (JCCABC), MaryAnn Thompson, at a function where he addressed Jamaica’s travel partners in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on October 16 at the Sutton Place Hotel.
The Minister pointed out that there would be a total of 53 flights per week from Canada to Jamaica, and that the country has the capacity in terms of rooms and attractions to support the increase.
Despite the current economic crunch and financial difficulties being experienced around the world, and the sensitivity of the tourism industry to external shocks, Mr. Bartlett said tourism usually “bounces back and bounces back quickly.”
The Minister invited everyone present to visit “tallawah Jamaica, where the finest rum is brewed and the people are iconic,” and experience for themselves “why 42 per cent of our visitors annually are repeat visitors, and why we have visitors who have come to Jamaica for 35 and 40 years.”
He said that although Jamaica has a perception as a destination with safety issues, the island keeps having record arrivals every single year, because a visitor is a treasure and “we embrace visitors even when we are a little aggressive with each other or intolerant of each other.”
“Destination Jamaica is the safest destination for visitors in the world. Our record of visitor safety is impeccable. That is why I repeat once you go, you know. We have learnt you must entertain strangers, because in doing so, you may be entertaining angels,” he said.
Marketing Representative for the JTB in Western Canada, Sahara Abu-Ulbeh, brought the travel partners up-to-date on recent developments and future happenings in Jamaica’s tourism industry. Several partners made presentations, including representatives from Air Canada Vacations, Sandals, SuperClubs, Transat Holidays, Thomas Cook, Total Vacations, and WestJet Airlines.
Accompanying the Minister were Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, Carole Guntley and Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC).Lionel Reid.