Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
On the eve of the upcoming winter tourist season, some 100 German travel agents have flooded the island for tour operator Mier's Weltreisen's weeklong familiarisation of the tourism product and a series of educational workshops.
The agents, from metropolis such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf, arrived on the island last Wednesday. They have been dispatched in six groups to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Negril and the capital city, Kingston.
Enticing the agents under the umbrella theme, 'Com Ya', the German tour operator, has innovatively depicted each group in honour of a Jamaican celebrity or person who has had great influence on the island.
"They are getting a taste of the entire product, while wearing name tags bearing the names Bob Marley, Shaggy, Usain Bolt, Captain Morgan, Ian Flemming and Cool Runnings," Christian Meiter of the Jamaica Tourist Board, Germany, tells The Gleaner.
INCREASE IN ARRIVALS
Meiter revealed that tourist arrivals to Jamaica from the western European country had grown by seven per cent over 2011.
And with the charter company, Condor, increasing its frequency from Frankfurt to Montego Bay by two direct flights per week, the prospects are encouraging.
"The German visitors are staying at least 10 to 21 days. They arrive on a Wednesday or a Sunday," Meiter disclosed.
One of the first hotels that the agents stayed on arrival into the island was RIU Montego Bay, where The Gleaner got a sneak preview into their weeklong itinerary.
"They are visiting several Jamaican attractions, attending workshops and sampling the rich diversity of the product," RIU's director of sales, Angella Bennett, stated.
Bennett said it was very encouraging to have the European travel because of the long stays.
"Ideally, it's a very good market for Jamaica because they participate in a lot of island excursions and are interested in experiencing not only the hotels, but the attractions and the rich culture."
In addition to meeting with members of the Jamaican hotel sector, the 100 travel agents will accommodate industry stakeholders from Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia.