More Canadians visiting Jamaica

TORONTO, Canada – Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, Basil Smith has described 2006 as a landmark year for Canadians visiting Jamaica.

“In total, we saw a 31.4 per cent increase in tourist arrivals from Canada. The destination had a total of 153,569 visitors from Canada, an increase of 36,707 over 2005,” he said.

Mr. Smith was addressing Canadian tourism partners who do business with Jamaica, at an appreciation luncheon held recently at the Renaissance Toronto Airport Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

The Director said that 2007 has started out on the right track, with record number of visitors so far.

He thanked the travel agents, tour operators and others for their support which has “helped us to increase the airlift to the island and begin flying out of new gateways and has allowed more Canadians to visit Jamaica and see what makes us so unique.”

During the winter tourist season, Canadians are no longer limited to just Toronto, but can get direct flights to Jamaica from several Canadian cities, including Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Quebec City and Montreal. Discussions are underway to increase the gateways in 2007, especially from the Western provinces.

Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Dennis Morrison noted that Jamaica’s tourism industry is expanding and should grow by 50 per cent by December 2010.

He pointed out that there would be increased marketing of Jamaica overseas and the development of more cultural attractions for the visitor.
The Chairman also cited improvements in infrastructure in Jamaica, such as the airports, road system and telecommunications.

The JTB’s team in Canada, headed by Regional Director, Sandra Scott, was also lauded for the exceptional work they are doing.

Miss Scott noted that the JTB owed a debt of gratitude to its travel partners who have supported and helped to introduce Jamaica to more Canadians than ever before.

Mr. Smith issued an invitation to the travel partners to take part in the 17th staging of Jamaica’s biggest product exchange, JAPEX 2007, which takes place in Ocho Rios from April 29 to May 1.

“I hope some of you, if not all of you, can join us for what will be another remarkable event for all partners of the Jamaica Tourist Board. JAPEX will provide an opportunity to have you experience the renaissance that is clearly underway in our tourism sector,” he said.

Also in attendance were Jamaica’s newly appointed High Commissioner to Canada, Evadne Coye; Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner; and Manager of Air Jamaica, Norma Sale.

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