Westmoreland twinned with Japanese city
Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook says the twinning of Westmoreland with the city of Tottori in Japan will assist the push to get more Japanese tourists to visit Jamaica.
"The Japanese market remains a priority for Jamaica. In my visit to Tokyo in May, I met with a number of travel partners and airline companies to further develop packages that will make Jamaican vacations easier and more attractive to the Japanese travel market," he said.
Pennicook was speaking at a welcome reception for Governor of Tottori Shinji Hirai and his delegation at the Couples Swept Away Resort in Negril on Sunday.
He noted that while there are no direct flights between the countries, there are very good connections, most of which can take a visitor from Japan to Jamaica on the same day.
"And so, with this kind of convenience, we are working to attract more Japanese to visit Jamaica. Currently, just over 2,000 Japanese visit Jamaica each year, but this is a far cry from the late '90s when we had as much as 23,000 Japanese visiting Jamaica in a single year. Needless to say, we are eager to recover the market share," he said.
A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP
Pennicook noted that Jamaica and Japan have enjoyed diplomatic relations for more than 50 years and have had a robust exchange in the areas of trade, technology, education and culture.
He said that Jamaica has benefited considerably from initiatives undertaken through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, and scholarships.
He noted that the Japanese "have maintained a healthy appetite for Jamaican coffee," consuming more than 60 per cent of Blue Mountain Coffee, and have also invested heavily in the product locally.
Pennicook said that Jamaican music has reaped success in the Japanese market with frequent performances by artistes in front of large crowds in the Asian country.
Hirai and his delegation visited Jamaica for the official twinning of Westmoreland and Tottori.