KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 27, 2008 – The man who will take the lead at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has been named and he isn’t a new face. The board’s Chairman John Lynch will now also fill the position of Director of Tourism, assuming responsibility for the JTB’s day-to-day operations and the island’s global tourism marketing, from December 1.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett made the announcement on Tuesday night, noting that the current global tourism environment dictated that quick and decisive action be taken to fill the post which became vacant after Basil Smith did not renew his contract which expired in October, and Mr Lynch’s “knowledge, experience and strength in sales make him an ideal candidate to fill the available post”.
Mr Bartlett noted that before Board members resigned en masse last week, they had unanimously recommended that the sitting Chairman be considered for the top post given his vast global experience, and to facilitate a smooth transition. He said a new board should be in place soon.
The Minister said he was looking forward to working with the new Director of Tourism as part of a renewed thrust to drive Jamaica’s tourism industry to new heights. He said new, creative thinking and a new strategy are now needed to cope with the ever increasing challenges facing the industry.
“Mr Lynch is one of the finest marketers in the tourism business today to be found anywhere in the world. He possesses the expertise and tireless energy that we need to meet the fierce challenges facing Jamaica in the global tourism marketplace today,” Mr Bartlett said.
But the opposition People’s National Party has indicated discomfort with Mr Lynch holding both top positions at the JTB, saying that it could affect the Board’s accountability.
Meantime, Mr Lynch has welcomed his appointment, saying: “I am eager to give back to Jamaica’s tourism industry and I look forward to working with the new Board as we protect and grow our market share in this challenging period”.
The new Director, a former Sandals Group executive, has worked for 16 years as executive vice president of Unique Vacations, with overall responsibility for public relations, sales promotions, and group sales and is credited with being a major force in the development of all Sandals Resorts brands worldwide.
Mr Lynch has also had experience in the public sector, serving the JTB in a variety of capacities in the past. He was a driving force behind the award-winning ‘Come Back to Jamaica’ campaign that significantly increased visitor arrivals during his tenure.
The tourism official has also been involved intimately in the wider regional industry. He serves as third vice president of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), chairing its marketing committee. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Caribbean Tourism Development Corporation (CTDC), a merger of the Caribbean Hotel Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.