Jamaica and Air Transat Officials Begin Partnership Discussions

Kingston, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Tourism and Entertainment Minister, the Hon Dr. Wykeham McNeill has kick-started high level discussions with senior officials from Canada’s leading holiday travel airline Air Transat and its parent company Transat A.T. Inc., aimed at boosting tourism and airlift to Jamaica out of Canada.

This as Minister McNeill and other senior tourism officials including Director of Tourism Mr. John Lynch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Jennifer Griffith, and Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, TEF, Senator Noel Sloley met with senior Transat representatives.

The Transat team, which was led by Chief Executive Officer and President of Air Transat and President of Transat Canada, Mr. Allen Graham, had  preliminary discussions, during a luncheon at Devon House on Friday March 30, 2012. Mr. Graham and his team visited the island to initiate talks on ways to increase the number of airline seats to Jamaica and plans to grow Transat’s business in the island.

Transat A.T. Inc. is an integrated international tour operator which distributes products in over 50 countries and operates mainly in Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean Basin.  Transat through its subsidiary company Look Voyages currently operates a weekly charter from France to Jamaica and also plans to increase lift out of other European cities and Canada for the fall and winter season of 2012 to 2013.

Following a tour of the Devon House property Mr. Graham and his team then paid a Courtesy Call on Prime Minister the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller, to further the discussions. Prime Minister Simpson-Miller said she was very pleased to hear that Air Transat intends to increase the number of visitors it brings to the island. Air Transat currently operates 18 weekly flights from 10 Canadian gateways into Montego Bay and plans to boost these numbers for winter 2012-2013. In outlining these plans Mr. Graham underscored that “Jamaica is a key destination in our plans for growth in the region.”

Minister McNeill then revealed that the Ministry and the wider Government are willing to partner with Transat to boost tourism and other sectors. He said “we are eager to embrace Transat as a major partner even in the area of investment.” Mr. Graham then expressed that he is keen on having his Vice Presidents meet with Minister McNeill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Hon. Anthony Hylton and officials from their respective Ministries at a later date.

Prime Minister Simpson-Miller emphasized that she will be lending her support to the initiative. She said “I am so excited about the prospects and Minister McNeill has my full support as tourism remains a very important sector for Jamaica.”

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