With successful negotiations by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) to have direct flights from Sweden into Montego Bay, more Swedes and Jamaican-Swedes now have the opportunity to trek between countries.
Kevin Lewis, a Jamaican living in Stockholm, Sweden, is one of the first Jamaicans who, along with his Swedish wife and sons Levi and Lexus, seized the opportunity on Monday December 16, to take the 10 hour-40 minute flight to reunite with his Jamaican family.
So happy was Lewis to be back on home soil, as he walked off the plane hugging his family, his chest expanded as he inhaled deeply then exhaled, shouting: "Yes! Jamaica mi deh. Yow, di vibes feel good."
Deputy director of tourism, Sandra Scott, believes that the Jamaican athletes who had performed well in Stockholm have also helped to market Brand Jamaica in Sweden. "Our athletes have been our marketing and sales arm and have certainly helped to put Jamaica on the map," she asserted.
first visit to jamaica
Swedish real-estate developer Klas Andersson and his fiancé, Cecilia Galliher, are on their first visit to Jamaica.
"We chose to come to Jamaica because of the climate. The weather is nice. Jamaica is quite a very interesting country," Andersson said.
Cecilia added: "I am very curious about the food, the culture, traditions, and the nature."
Sound system operator and record producer, Erik Gripenholm, made his maiden voyage to Jamaica in 2009, having been an ardent fan of reggae music.
During his vacation, he used his time to explore Jamaican culture and food, but most important, its music. Although he felt gratified, he thinks he would not have done himself justice if he didn't experience reggae music first-hand and Sting will be his research ground.
Gripenholm is back in Jamaica, and this time, he has brought along female companion - West African-born Silvia Baldé, who now lives and studies in Sweden. They have chosen to spend their two-week vacation in the picturesque parish of Portland - a corner of Jamaica that remains revered as the eco-tourism jewel.
"We will be relaxing and I hope I'll see a few friends, but I will definitely be going to Sting, because I love reggae and dancehall music. 'Super Cat' will be coming to Sting and I wouldn't miss that for the world," Gripenholm said.
Gripenholm has produced the reggae album, Walk in Peace, sang by Jamaican-born Everton Chambers, on his Fast Forward label.