Mr. Bartlett, who was guest on the network’s international flagship business programme, ‘Quest Means Business’, hosted by popular British Anchor, Richard Quest, in London, told JIS News that he was indeed happy to have had a platform of that magnitude to tell the world that Jamaica’s tourism has never been better and that the product is the best and most diversified in the region.
“It was a momentous moment for Jamaica’s tourism product. We got an incredible platform to share that Jamaica is not only still open for business, but should be the destination of choice for all. I am so proud that I got to share our initiatives and the vision we have for the future of Jamaica’s tourism product,” the Minister noted.
“This is really for Jamaica and, by extension, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), which works tirelessly to promote our country to potential visitors around the word. Our tourism product is indeed booming, and we must utilise every platform to remind the world that Jamaica has a world-class product,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett, who only last week was named Tourism Minister of the Year Worldwide by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) at the ITB Berlin 2018 Travel Trade Show in Germany, added that the CNN interview was just the latest in the global interest being shown in Jamaica, noting that the best is still yet to come.
“Over the past week or so, we have made visits to Greece, Italy, Germany and where we are now finishing up in Great Britain. Everywhere we went in Europe, people are just fascinated with the Jamaican mystique and are very interested in marketing our product,” he said.
The Minister explained that while there was some initial confusion as it relates to the enhanced security measures taking place in the tourism capital of Montego Bay, there is every indication now that those concerns have been alleviated, and “the numbers in relation to bookings are looking pretty good”.
Mr. Bartlett also noted that it was good that Jamaica had a presence at the ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show, describing it as the largest of its kind in the world, attracting around 109,000 visitors and 10,000 exhibitors to trade stands, talks and workshops.
Director of Tourism, Donovan White, and European-based JTB officials were also a part of the delegation that accompanied the Tourism Minister.
Mr. Bartlett said there were a number of major accomplishments during the European visit, citing the breakthrough arrangement where there will be additional non-stop flights between Europe and Jamaica, to start this summer, as well as the opening up of other markets in Europe.
“We will also be seeing an increase in European cruise activities and heightened investor interest in the island,” he added.
The Minister pointed out that the European market has the potential to be even bigger “than what we have previously been seeing”, noting that “we are also seeing where the Eastern bloc has been opening up more”.
Jamaica welcomed a record 325,804 European tourists last year, approximately 31,000 more than in 2016.
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