Jamaica was named best Tourism Destination for Adventure while its Tourism Minister won the top prize in his field at the Pacific Area Travel Association Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Jamaica's Edmund Bartlett was named World Tourism Minister of the Year, on Thursday, at the ITB Berlin 2018 – the world’s leading travel trade show. Caribbean Journal also recently crowned Bartlett the Caribbean’s Tourism Minister of the Year for 2017.
About 10,000 travel companies gathered in Germany for ITB Berlin 2018, where German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, headlined the opening day.
The Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) panel is responsible for choosing the winners in the categories. PATWA was formed in 1998 and is made up of travel writers.
Bartlett said he is “both happy and humbled” by the prestigious award. “This is really for Jamaica and the outstanding team here at the Ministry of Tourism and, by extension, the Jamaica Tourist Board,” the minister added.
He added that the hard work that has been put into selling Jamaica to the world is finally being recognized.
“We had a great 2017, and there is every indication that we will surpass all predictions for 2018. Jamaica has a world-class tourism product that is in demand. We are now the number-one destination for British tourists and we have been seeing our numbers in Europe continuing on a steady rise. I was in Greece the other day for a Think Tank, and Jamaica continues to be all the rave,” Bartlett explained.
The minister also stated that Jamaica is getting closer to starting regular non-stop flights between the Caribbean island and Switzerland.
“They (the Swiss) are excellent vacationers and are keen on Jamaica. Seamless travel between one of their major cities and Montego Bay is central to boosting numbers from there, and we should be rolling soon,” Bartlett said.
German airline Eurowings confirmed that once-a-week non-stop flights between Munich and Montego Bay will commence on July 18 of this year, according to a Jamaica Observer report.
Senior government advisor Delano Seiveright disclosed that “Jamaica recorded a roughly 44 percent growth in German stopover visitors for 2017 over the previous year, moving from 20,768 to 29,858.” The cost of fares will range between US$500 and US$1,000 for a round-trip ticket.
“Jamaica has proven itself as a world-class destination by its ability to deliver on the brand promise through these very individuals and organizations that we recognize annually at the TSEA (Tourism Service Excellence Awards),” Bartlett said.
Bartlett now has his sight set on attracting at least 20,000 Italians to Jamaica by 2021.
“Approximately 13,700 Italians visited Jamaica last year, representing a 44.5 percent increase over 2015. It is our third largest market in Europe behind the United Kingdom and Germany. Our team and travel partners have been doing well and we are keen on strengthening the market even more through innovative partnerships and other strategies," the minister explained.