Despite the current economic crisis worldwide, the number of Canadian visitors to Jamaica has been increasing and this has enabled the country to be one of only three markets in the Caribbean to record growth in visitor arrivals in 2009.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, addressing travel writers in Toronto, Canada, recently, said for the first three months of 2009, the total number of stopover visitors from Canada was 118,374, which represented a 27.7 per cent increase over the similar period last year.
“The performance of Canada has been our salvation in these difficult times. We continue to grow in this market and the strong growth out of Canada has enabled Jamaica to be among the leaders of the world in terms of positive arrival figures for 2008 and 2009 to date,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett thanked the “Canadian partners” who made it possible, including the airlines, tour operators, travel agents and the Jamaican Diaspora.
“The Jamaican Diaspora in Canada have been very strong partners in ensuring the growth,” he said.
The Minister reiterated the sentiments when he addressed members of the community and media at the Jamaican Consulate General, and also acknowledged the hard work of the Jamaica Tourist Board team in Canada, headed by Ms. Sandra Scott.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left), speaking to Canadian travel writers recently. He thanked Canadians for continuing to visit Jamaica despite the current economic crisis. Looking on is Editor of Travel Industry ‘TODAY’, Jen Savedra.
The objective now, said the Minister, is to continue “to drive Destination Jamaica as the destination of choice for Canadians and others.” In the next five to 10 years, Jamaica wants to have five million stopover visitors and earnings of US$5 billion, he added.
Mr. Bartlett said this will be achieved by employing several strategies, including a tourism service excellence awards programme, which had its inaugural show earlier this year, and will raise the bar on service in all areas of the industry that the visitor comes in contact with;” the opening of the first hospitality school for supervisors, sous-chef and middle managers; market diversification; new advertising and promotional programmes; increased airlifts to Jamaica; and more tourism investments.
“The new global realities are forcing us to construct a new architecture and to redefine ourselves in the global marketplace,” he said.
Accompanying the Minister were Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board and Director of Tourism, John Lynch, and Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), Lionel Reid.
Mr. Lynch said the tourism product in Jamaica is at an all-time high, noting that the country boasts the most up-to-date airport in the Caribbean, good ground transportation and 159 licensed attractions.