Simply the best - Jamaica shines at World Travel Awards
It was an early Christmas for Jamaica at the 23rd World Travel Awards (WTA) ceremony in the Maldives, southern Asia, on Friday, as the island topped all other Caribbean destinations in winning nine awards three individuals and six by resorts and travel partners.
Jamaica walked away with the individual awards for: World's Leading Cruise Destination and World's Leading Wedding Destination, while Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett continued with his 'purple patch' by copping the award for the World's Leading Personality for Outstanding Services to Travel.
The island's resorts and travel partners scored with: World's Leading Luxury Hotel Villa (Ian Fleming Villa @ Goldeneye); World's Leading New Island Resort (Melia BracoVillage), World's Leading Villa Resort (Round Hill Hotel and Villas); World's Leading Family Resort Brand (Beaches); World's Leading All-Inclusive Company (Sandals Resorts International); and World's Leading Caribbean Attractions Company (Island Routes Caribbean Adventure).
Bartlett, who in September also won the prestigious award for Caribbean Leading Personality by the WTA, told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday that he was both thrilled and overwhelmed by the island's achievements.
He, however, stressed that the success of Jamaica's tourism is not sufficiently measured by the number of international awards that are won but by the "resilience of our people and the nimbleness of our models".
Bartlett added, "Indeed, the consistency of Jamaica's tourism growth, both in revenues and visitor arrivals over the past 35 years, positions us as world beaters and among a small elite of countries boasting that performance. Friday night's cache of awards in the Maldives re-emphasises the truism that small can be large, and is a happy coincidence of glory for us, as our world champion athletics legend Usain Bolt also pointed out when winning the World Athlete of the Year Award in Monaco."
The minister shared that Brand Jamaica was on full display in the Maldives on Friday and that the world took full notice. He said that never before has the tourism industry been this interestingly poised, adding that Jamaica is at a place in time where "there's really no turning back".
"I offer my deepest and most profound gratitude to the many partners in tourism who over time have worked together to give Jamaica a moment of glory like this, and can only pledge my unwavering commitment to preserve and enhance it," the tourism boss added.
"The WTA is to travel and tourism as the Oscars are to the film industry or the Grammy is to music. These awards are for the people of Jamaica and all of the staff affiliated with the Ministry of Tourism. This is also for all our stakeholders and all the people who have worked tirelessly to ensure that our tourism product remains first class and competitive. They are the real unsung heroes in all of this the wind beneath my wings."
The tourism minister was accompanied on the trip by Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Horace Chang, who collected the award for Best Cruise Destination on behalf of the Port Authority of Jamaica.