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OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA; SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2016: Jamaica last night captured the lion’s share of accolades in the 23rd Annual World Travel Awards (WTA) for the Caribbean and North America and stamped its mark as the leading destination in the region.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett complemented the several awards received by Jamaica by himself being bestowed the unique award of the “Caribbean’s Leading Personality for Outstanding Services to Tourism.”
The WTA’s citation to Minister Bartlett singled him out as “an individual who has worked tirelessly to advance the hospitality industry here in Jamaica.” It noted that he has been recognized for his wide expertise and accomplishments in the political arena, and “has given over 35 years of service in the Senate and the House of Representatives.”
Mr. Bartlett was first appointed Minister of Tourism in 2007 and again in 2016 and, according to the citation, “in recent years he has represented Jamaica internationally and currently chairs the Board of Affiliate Members of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.”
Reacting to his award, Minister Bartlett admitted, “it’s a humbling experience” for him. He added, “humbling because what it says is that the efforts of others that you have been able to reflect must not be assumed to be yours.”
He dedicated his award to the people of Jamaica, Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch who has given 45 years of outstanding service to the tourism industry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith, “the ministers that have passed and the entire team within the Ministry and its agencies, both past and present, who have all contributed so much to building Jamaica and to set the stage and on whose shoulders I have stood to achieve this prestigious award. And so I say to my past colleagues and friends, thank you very much.”
Amidst the glitz and glamour at the black-tie gala at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Minister Bartlett led a high-profiled team of ministry executives on stage to receive the prestigious award for Jamaica as the “Caribbean’s Leading Destination.”
Counted among the recipients of top awards, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) was named the “Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board” while Jamaica also emerged the “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination” as well as the Caribbean’s Best Spa Destination.
Jamaica was also recognized for having the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port (Ocho Rios), the Caribbean's Leading Home Port (Montego Bay), the Caribbean’s Leading Airport (Sangster International Airport), and the Caribbean’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre (Montego Bay Convention Centre).
While noting that the awards signalled that Jamaica was doing well, Minister Bartlett said, “it is not a sufficient position which will allow us to sit on our laurels because there are a number of awards that we didn’t win tonight and it means that Jamaica has some work to do to be able to win these other awards.”
In commending the local tourism entities which also won awards, Minister Bartlett stressed that, “what we have seen here is a statement that we are on track but it is also a motivation to go further to cop the other awards to make Jamaica the most outstanding destination in the Caribbean in all categories of experience.”