Industry veteran John Lynch chats with JE on where Jamaica’s tourism is headed.
You have had such an immense influence on tourism and travel to Jamaica. How do you visualize the future growth of tourism for Jamaica?
I see Jamaica’s tourism growing from strength to strength. As a destination, we have faced some tough times, but have continued to grow. The destination has shown itself to be quite resilient regardless of the recession. I see us making headways into markets like Brazil, Mexico and Colombia in Latin America, as well as the Czech Republic and Poland; all while maintaining our share of market in the USA, Canada and the UK.
With such a distinguished career what continues to motivate you?
I continue to be motivated by our diverse product. There are so many different facets to growing tourism in Jamaica. Our natural beauty and heritage give us a lot to talk about. When you combine that with our talented people … in music, athletics, and the arts … and our infectious hospitality, one can’t help but be motivated.
How does Jamaica appeal to a luxury traveller? What are some of the special considerations for this target segment?
Jamaica has much to offer the luxury traveller. We have an expansive array of luxury villas, all with breath-taking views. We also have historic resorts like Half Moon and Round Hill which have built their name on catering to the discerning traveller, with guided tours, spas and golf courses. And we have also developed a reputation for hosting members of the glitterati without the fanfare.
What makes Jamaica unique from the perspective of a visitor to the island, compared to other islands in the Caribbean?
Many persons are surprised by the number of activities available on the island. Jamaica has more attractions than any other Caribbean island. Our six distinct resort areas allow for very different experiences: Kingston offers an immersion into the culture including a hopping night life and at the other end of the spectrum Port Antonio offers a sanctuary for creative inspiration.
Where does John Lynch go for a weekend getaway in Jamaica?
To a villa at Round Hill. It is truly such an amazing place. You can participate in hotel activities if you wish or simply enjoy you own space. The staff are attentive without being over the top. For me, Round Hill offers the perfect weekend getaway in Jamaica. Three words that will help a first time visitor to Jamaica understands the destination. Vibe – Jamaica has an aura all of her own that is difficult to put into words. It has to be experienced; Reggae – it is not just our music, but is the anthem that drives our passions. It is reflective of our struggle and triumphs of our unrelenting spirit; Colorful – both in our vista and our people.
I heard someone recently say that the next 5 years will be the most exciting for tourism in Jamaica. Do you agree and, if so, why?
They will be very exciting indeed. The Jamaica Tourist Board has established very bold targets for growth. The Minister of Tourism has also outlined the five pillars of growth so yes, we anticipate much excitement as we introduce new accommodation brands, increase air lift and build new markets.
Please share with us some of your favorite and recommended places for a discerning visitor to experience in Jamaica.
I already mentioned one of my favorites – Round Hill. Half Moon is another excellent choice in Montego Bay. Portland is a beautiful place, perfect for rest and relaxation. GeeJam is the perfect place to recharge in Portland. Strawberry Hill in the hills above Kingston also come to mind. The truth is, wherever you are on the island, there is somewhere that would meet the expectations of the discerning visitor.