By Linda Hohnholz
In what he describes as an “ambitious but achievable” target, Jamaica Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has revealed that he is pushing for 500,000 visitors to Jamaica from Canada by 2025.
Minister Bartlett made the disclosure today (September 19) ahead of his departure to the North American country, where he will be joined by senior tourism officials on a five-day ‘winter marketing blitz’ as Jamaica seeks to engage critical travel partners in the Greater Toronto Area.
“We have an overarching goal to welcome 5 million visitors and earn 5 billion dollars in tourism revenue by 2025. Canada is our third largest market and we are currently at just above the 300,000 mark and getting to where we were in 2010 when we had up to 400,000 visitors coming from Canada. My projections are driven by data, and I have evidence now that the Canadian market is ready to take us to half a million visitors within the next two years,” Minister Bartlett expressed.
“We’re going to be talking with Air Canada, WestJet, Canada Jetlines, our new partners, and others to bolster the airlift out of Canada,” asserted the tourism minister. He noted that this follows discussions held with Canadian travel partners at the just concluded JAPEX (Jamaica Product Exchange) trade show held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from September 11-13.
While in Canada, Minister Bartlett will meet with the President and faculty at McMaster University and tour the Miss Lou Archives, housed in the university’s library. Additionally, the tourism minister underscored that Canada would play a strategic role in Jamaica’s efforts to engage the Asian visitor market, including India and China. In keeping with this, he will be the guest speaker at a special event organized by Mandarin Holidays, where over 100 Chinese travel agents will be in attendance.
Minister Bartlett’s other engagements will include meetings with executives from Air Canada Vacations, and Canada Jetlines as well as travel agents and tour operators. The tourism minister is also scheduled for numerous interviews with various media entities, ranging from print, television and radio, as he seeks to position Jamaica as a destination of choice for Canadian visitors.
Minister Bartlett is scheduled to depart Canada on Monday, September 25 for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he will join other global tourism leaders including officials from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in marking World Tourism Day 2023, which will be observed on Wednesday, September 27. The tourism minister noted that Jamaica is slated to be the toast of this year’s celebration as a model of resilience and people-oriented investments. The UNWTO’s theme for World Tourism Day 2023 is “Tourism and Green Investments” which seeks to highlight the need to focus on investing in people, planet and prosperity.
Minister Bartlett noted that: “In Jamaica, Tourism Awareness Week 2023, which runs from September 24 – 30, will be observed under the same theme and will include several activities, beginning with a Thanksgiving Church Service on Sunday, September 24 at the Montego Bay New Testament Church of God in St. James.”