64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Jamaica
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I am delighted to bring greetings at this evening’s awards function at this the 19th annual Canadian Travel Industry Golf Tournament. Thank you for your kind invitation to share with you this evening. More important, I want to thank you for choosing to come to Jamaica for this event.
I am conscious that last year, we could not have this event because of, shall we say, inclement weather? So I am thrilled that you have had a weekend of beautiful weather.
I wish to congratulate Sandals and the Baxter Travel Media for continuing the tradition of this tournament. Back in 1993 when the event started as activity for travel agents, little did we know that it would become the premier travel industry tournament for Canada, and a highlight of the fall calendar. Both Sandals and the Baxter Travel Group are to be commended for their foresight.
Allow me to single out Mrs. Edith Baxter, OD. She has been a close friend and supporter of Jamaica for many years. This is the first time in fact that she has not attended this tournament, and I believe it is only because she got strict instructions why she is not hear. It is no wonder that the government of Jamaica conferred on her the Order of Distinction for her contributions to growing tourism to the destination.
It should not be surprising to anyone in this room that Jamaica and Canada have had a very close relationship. Nor should be surprising that the Canadian Travel Industry is committed to the island’s tourist industry, a key engine for national economic growth. For several years now, you have been selecting Jamaica as a favoured destination, and the Jamaica Tourist Board as the favourite Tourism Bureau.
Based on your activities, tourism arrivals from Canada to Jamaica have continued to grow. Stopover arrivals from Canada grew by 6.4% in 2012. We anticipate that 2013 will be another growth year. I am happy to let you know that the Summer months have shown tremendous promise – we have experienced increases in every month this summer. And for the upcoming winter season, I am advised that we do have an increase of over 10% in seats available.
As a destination, we have so much more to offer than sun and sand. But you are already aware that Jamaica has over 160 attractions – more than any Caribbean island. In addition to the varied attractions, we have a rich cultural heritage, a tremendous range of accommodations, great shopping and world-class cuisine.
But I may be speaking to the converted. You see, like you, Jamaica is committed to strengthening partnerships with all players, be they airlines, wholesalers, tour operators, travel agents, media or suppliers. That is why we are so welcoming of this kind of event.
So thank you for attending this event and hearty congratulations to the winners. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
2013 October 26