Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, fresh from receiving his accolade as the Caribbean’s Tourism Minister of the Year for 2017, has been named Tourism Minister of the Year Worldwide.
Mr. Bartlett received the award on March 8 at the ITB Berlin 2018, the world’s leading travel trade show, in Germany.
The award was voted on by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association, a professional organisation of travel writers, which was founded in 1998 at the Pacific Area Travel Association (PATA) Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Jamaica also copped another major award as the best Tourism Destination for Adventure.
Mr. Bartlett said he is “both happy and humbled” to be recognised for such a prestigious award and in front of “an audience of the tourism and travel industry’s finest”.
“This is really for Jamaica and the outstanding team here at the Ministry of Tourism and, by extension, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB),” the Minister added.
He said the award is especially gratifying, as it showed that all the hard work to sell Jamaica to the world is being recognised by industry players globally.
“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,” the Minister said.
Mr. Bartlett added that Jamaica is now starting to see the benefits of having hosted the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, which ran for three days last November.
“The kind of publicity we got out of hosting that mega conference is something we could never pay for. Jamaica is certainly poised for greatness, and tourism continues to be that main engine of economic growth that has the potential to solve our problems. We are out here in the marketplace, where we continue to have a bird’s eye view of how well our product is being received by the rest of the world,” the Minister said.
About 10,000 travel companies have gathered in Germany for ITB Berlin 2018, which runs from March 7 to 11. It features themes such as luxury travel, technology and the sustainability of the travel and tourism industry.
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, headlined the conference’s official opening session on Tuesday (March 6).