Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is projecting that the tourism sector will grow by 6.5 per cent this year, on the heels of last year's five per cent increase. Addressing Heads of Missions at a meeting at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston on Wednesday June 29, Mr. Bartlett said that the Ministry has adopted a number of initiatives, as part of the growth strategy to ensure this reality. He said that central to the growth strategy is airlift security and, unless the partnership between the airlines and Government is maintained, “we will be like the beautiful gems at the bottom of the sea; everybody knows that it’s there, but nobody can get to it”.
David Hobden and Marina Vassilieva from California, pictured with Sandals Emerald Bay General Manager, John Keating, Sandals Resorts CEO, Adam Stewart and Chairman and Founder, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, were among the first guests to experience the new Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas.Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas opened its doors last week, welcoming guests for the very first time to the sprawling 500-acre resort. Fresh off the heels of their stay at Sandals Emerald Bay, where they were among the first-ever guests of the new property, David Hobden and Marina Vassilieva of Birlington, California were excited to share their experience.
The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) has endorsed the recent launch of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association's OTA (Online Travel Agency), and has implemented the Regatta booking engine on, the official government sponsored destination website for Barbados.  The Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) announced the launch of the OTA Software on May 31st and has seen an increasing number of bookings since.
The U.S. Virgin Islands government has heralded the importance of overseas-based Virgin Islanders, Caribbean nationals and the intra-regional Caribbean market to the development of its tourism product and experience. During the Caribbean Tourism Organization's Caribbean Week in New York, held earlier this month, Kay Milliner-Kitchens, Director of Sales of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, presented the natural beauty, history and allure of their islands to Caribbean-Americans during a special CTO meeting that focused on the importance of the Caribbean Diaspora. "We in the U.S. Virgin Islands have been blessed by the goodwill and support we have received throughout the years by our nationals and our Caribbean neighbors," said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, who indicated that her Department has embarked on a strategic campaign to encourage Caribbean nationals to promote and visit the islands.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (right) accepts a model of an AirTran Airways aircraft, presented by Roger Morenc, Director of Revenue Management for AirTran Airways (left), in recognition of the airline’s first flight to Jamaica. On February 11, 2010 AirTran Airways launched nonstop flights from three U.S. gateways: Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando. Upon arrival in Montego Bay, the airline’s official inaugural flight from Atlanta was welcomed with a ceremonial water arch, and as passengers entered the terminal they were greeted with a mento band, welcome beads and a special reception with Minister Bartlett.