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Tourism is more than an industry, it’s a culture

PICTURED: Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Mr Edmund Bartlett, addressing the audience at the Jamaica Tourist Board annual gala awards in Luton

JAMAICA’S MINISTER of Tourism, Mr Edmund Bartlett, has described tourism as a culture which has captivated the world.

The Minister said, no single industry is all-inclusive and all-embracing and deals with diversity as if it didn’t exist like tourism does, and Jamaica is a part of that culture which embraces humanity from all corners of the world.

Mr Bartlett was speaking at the Annual Gala Awards for travel agents, partners and tour operators hosted by the Jamaica Tourist Board during the third annual Jamaica Travel Market held at Luton Hoo Golf and Spa Resort on Thursday, September 27.

In emphasising the global reach of the industry, he told the audience that 50 years ago 200 million people travelled across boarders for tourism pleasure.

He said: “Fifty years ago those 200 million people spent 350 billion dollars, last year 1.2 billion people travelled for tourism and spent 1.3 trillion dollars. Tourism is the largest employer across the industries of the world. One in ten of all workers of the world are involved with tourism.”

The award for leading Caribbean Travel Agency is presented to Lindsay Ingram (right) General Manager of Newmont Travel Ltd by Director of Tourism, Donovan White (left) Elizabeth Fox and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett

“Today 10 percent of global GDP is from tourism while 8.7 trillion dollars aggregate of tourism expenditure were recorded in 2017. Those staggering figures tell of a culture that has now captivated the world. No other industry in the world has grown consistently over the last 50 years like tourism.”

Mr Bartlett said this consistent growth in the industry is despite its vulnerability to endogenous shocks in relations to pandemic health matters, cybercrime, terrorism, seismic and climatic events like earthquakes and hurricanes, economic and political changes and financial meltdowns as happened in 2008.

“Despite these problems tourism has grown because we have something called resilience, we bounce back fast and we have a low rate of retention of pain and we recover quickly from any adversity.

Director of Tourism, Donovan White with JTB’s District Sales Manager Torrance Lewis at the gala awards

“It is this tourism culture that has made Jamaica the most desired destination in all of the English-speaking Caribbean. We thank our UK partners for working with us in maximising the attention of people to our wonderful piece of rock.”

Also addressing the audience was Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, Donovan White who gave an update on the local industry performance in 2018.

He said: “The number of visitors from the UK has grown by three percent this year over the record numbers who came last year. We are constantly making changes and tweaks to ensure that the product you sell to your customers is the best destination you can find anywhere in the world.”

He also mentioned that at the recent World Travel Awards, Jamaica was voted among others, the Caribbean’s Leading Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port, and the Caribbean’s Leading Home Port.
Both the Minister and Director were joined by Elizabeth Fox, regional director, Jamaica Tourist Board in handing out the awards to the UK and Nordic tour operators and agencies which have achieved the largest growth of business to Jamaica during 2017.   
As well as the award categories which recognise an increase in room night production by individual companies, Jamaican hoteliers and tourism companies voted for their favourite UK tour operator in the Jamaica Tourism Partners ‘Your Choice’ award category.

Awards winners gather for a group photo after the presentations at the Jamaica Tourist Board’s annual gala

The eight award winners announced were:
UK Tour Operator – British Airways Holidays;
UK Travel Agency/Tour Operator – The Holiday Place;
UK Online Tour Operator – Expedia;
UK Charter Tour Operator – TUI UK;
Nordic Tour Operator – Ving;
UK Long Haul Specialist Tour Operator – 
Best At Travel;
UK Caribbean Specialist Travel Company – Newmont Travel;
‘Your Choice Award’ – Favourite UK Tour Operator – Virgin Holidays.

JTB’s regional director Elizabeth Fox said: “We are delighted to acknowledge our valued travel partners and show our appreciation of their commitment and dedication in increasing business to Jamaica.  With such an exciting diversity of product now available on the island, Jamaica offers both first-time and repeat visitors, the ultimate holiday experience, and we are excited to see this reflected in the growth.”  

The two-day Jamaica Travel Market offered UK buyers, planners and agents the opportunity of one-to-one networking and briefing sessions with Jamaican hoteliers, destination management companies and tourism companies.   On the second day, travel agents can also benefit from destination training and workshops, with the aim of gaining new businesses.

Over 27 participants from Jamaica took part in the event which included resorts, attractions, small and medium size hotels and various tour operators.

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