Philip Rose, the Jamaica Tourist Board’s director in Canada, is reporting increased visitation from the market thus far in 2014.
In an interview with PAX on the floor at the Jamaica Product Exchage (JAPEX) on now in Montego Bay, he said that added capacity throughout the summer meant welcoming more travellers, as the service allowed the destination to tap into already-existing market potential.
“The way I see it, the business was already there to be had; we just went out and convinced tour operators that we had to add capacity and they did, and we’re seeing the fruits of our labour,” he said. “The Canadian market has been very good to us.”
Family reunions, weddings and other group business leads the trends for the off-peak season, in addition to what he calls “the ‘trapped urbanites’” who may not have access to a cottage during the summer months but still want to get away.
Capacity is also set to be up this winter over last, and as weather experts predict a rough season, Rose is optimistic all factors are in place to bring more Canadians to Jamaica.
He echoed the message of other delegates at JAPEX, who are saying Jamaica is hosting visitors beyond the sun, sand and sea, noting that Canadians are part of this trend.
“We’re not the ones who determined that brand Jamaica has to be x, y, z; it is the consumers,” Rose explained. “For many years, you might recall our slogan was 'Once you go, you know.' Consumers came to Jamaica, then they started to look outside the resorts, and they’re the ones who went back and started spreading the word.
“We listened to the consumers and we asked them, ‘What did you love about Jamaica?’ One thing at the top of the list was the diversity of product. I don’t necessarily think it’s us telling the market, ‘This is what Jamaica is about.’ We’re listening to the consumer and letting them know what we can do.”