Canadians do love Jamaica for all its trappings as an ideal vacation spot. But the love affair has gone much deeper over the years. They have once more voted the island tops as a destination to celebrate their 'I Dos'.
The country's travel agents have voted Jamaica as the favourite honeymoon destination for the fourth consecutive year, and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) as the Favourite Tourist Board in Canada for the seventh consecutive year.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator A.J. Nicholson has accepted the awards on behalf of Jamaica and the JTB from Robert Mowat, executive editor of Baxter Travel Media, publishers of Canadian Travel Press and Travel Courier, sponsors of the annual Agents' Choice Awards.
Each year, Baxter Travel Media surveys thousands of Canadian travel agents who select their 'favourites' in a wide variety of categories.
The presentation ceremony was held last Wednesday at the Rosewater Club in Toronto, Canada.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was expected to accept the awards, but she had to cut short her official visit to Canada and return to Jamaica because of the threat of Hurricane Sandy.
Senator Nicholson delivered the Prime Minister's address, in which she felt gratified and honoured to receive the awards on behalf of Jamaica, and commended the staff of the JTB in Canada, calling the Canadian success a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Board.
Noting that although Jamaica and the JTB have won the Agents' Choice Awards several times, the prime minister said, "We are just as appreciative now as when we first won.
"The Baxter publications have seen it fit to collate the views of agents, and we certainly appreciate the tremendous work they do here in Canada in promoting Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region. Over the years, we have come to value their efforts and, in fact, demonstrated our appreciation by awarding Mrs Baxter the nation's Order of Distinction in 2009," said the prime minister.
The JTB's regional director, Philip Rose, thanked Baxter Travel Media for the awards. He also thanked the JTB team, saying he is truly blessed to be working with the members.
Canada's district sales manager of the JTB, Dan Hamilton, thanked the travel partners for making Jamaica available and accessible to all Canadians, noting that the growth in recent years is a testimony to the strong and fruitful partnership with Jamaica.
Mr Hamilton said the Favourite Tourist Board award was very fulfilling for the JTB team, and he thanked Baxter Travel Media for facilitating the forum whereby travel agents can register how they feel about the work of the JTB.