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New JTB regional director solicits Diaspora support

Published:Monday | August 12, 2019 | 12:23 AMDave Rodney/Gleaner Writer
The group of Diaspora leaders invited by the Jamaica Tourist Board in New York on Friday to help push for more business for Brand Jamaica.
The group of Diaspora leaders invited by the Jamaica Tourist Board in New York on Friday to help push for more business for Brand Jamaica.

The Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) newly appointed regional director for the Northeastern United States, Phillip Rose, met last Friday with diaspora leaders in the area to enlist their support in the effort of selling Jamaica.

During the luncheon meeting with some 20 Jamaican diaspora leaders, Rose, who had previously worked for the JTB in Canada, pointed out that the Northeast had performed remarkably well for Jamaica with tourist arrivals, with 20 per cent growth from January to June 2019 over the previous year. Twenty-five thousand new airline seats will also boost airlift from the region this winter, but Rose pointed out that with renewed engagement with the diaspora community, Jamaica’s impressive tourism performance from the Northeast could be surpassed.

“The diaspora community has always been extremely important to the JTB,” Rose told the gathering.

“Your group has been very loyal to Jamaica throughout the years, and many of you have been an extended arm of the sales force of Brand Jamaica, working as informal ambassadors to sell the island.”

Among the organisations represented were the Union of Jamaica Alumni Association, the Good Neighbors Community Outreach Agency, Caribbean Immigrant Services Inc., JN Money Services, the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies, The Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board, Jampro, VP Records, Vacation Express, Campari America, and Unique Weddings & Tours.

“We have enjoyed great success with our innovative cruise and Jamaica destination weddings combination package over the past year, and we certainly look forward to partnering with the JTB to increase this business in the future,” Coleen ‘Kim’ Morrison, the Jamaican owner of Unique Weddings & Tours, told the gathering.

Cruise adventure

Morrison was congratulated for orchestrating on-island weddings for cruise passengers, where Jamaican lovers on a cruise can disembark the ship in Jamaica in the morning, get married by midday, invite their relatives who live in Jamaica to be part of the celebration, then reboard the cruise ship in the late afternoon as a married couple, continuing the cruise adventure.

Some of the attendees offered suggestions on ways in which new synergies with the diaspora could lead to increased business, and the Buju Banton Long Walk to Freedom concert in Kingston earlier this year was scrutinised as a template for generating future travel business.

Rose commended the excellent work being done by team leader Marcia Sinclair and the sales force in the Northeast, and he urged the diaspora leaders to bring their constituents back to Jamaica with a renewed passion.

“Please come back to enjoy the roast corn, the fry fish, and the ackee and salt fish, then tell your friends and strangers about the wonderful experience that a Jamaican vacation truly is,” Rose implored.