Mr. John Lynch
For more than 30 years John D. Lynch was been a steady force for many of the Caribbean’s most visible travel brands including: the country of Jamaica; its national airline, Air Jamaica, Ltd.; Sandals Resorts; Beaches Resorts; and the Royal Plantation group of luxury boutique resorts. Rising from the tour business, Lynch has become one of the Caribbean’s most influential and sought-after experts, a critical player in bringing worldwide attention and ultimately visitors, to the region he knows so well.
Lynch began his travel career as general manager of J.A.M., a Jamaica-based tour company. Through partnerships with Intercontinental Hotels and the Maritz Travel Company, Lynch rapidly expanded J.A.M., making it one of Jamaica’s leading ground transportation companies at that time and a precursor of today’s destination management companies.
Following this, Lynch began a fourteen year association with the Jamaica Tourist Board. He joined as senior manager, trade services, was promoted to regional manager based in Chicago, and ultimately became deputy director of tourism, responsible for sales and marketing worldwide, spurred on by the award-winning ‘Come Back to Jamaica’ campaign that significantly increased visitor arrivals during his tenure.
In 1991, Lynch became president and CEO of Luxury Resorts Marketing, the promotional and marketing arm of Ciboney Ocho Rios, A Radisson Resort, that brand’s first foray into the all-inclusive market. A year later he joined Sandals Resorts as executive vice president of sales worldwide.
From his Miami office, Lynch had oversight for public relations, sales promotions, and group sales for all Sandals Resorts brands worldwide and has been an integral part of the company’s aggressive expansion beyond Jamaica that now includes Antigua, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas and Saint Lucia. For Sandals, Lynch created the now trademarked WeddingMoon™ concept that combines a wedding and honeymoon and that has become synonymous with the destination wedding trend.
For ten years, Lynch was an active member of the Board of Directors of Air Jamaica, Ltd., while the airline was still the national carrier of Jamaica. Here Lynch was instrumental in the airline’s significant rebranding in 1993 and consequent route expansion that brought more flights to Jamaica from more cities around the world and introduced new Caribbean destinations to Air Jamaica’s portfolio.
He has served as third vice president of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), and as chairman of the influential marketing committee of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Currently, Lynch serves as a member of the board of directors for the Caribbean Tourism Development Corporation.
He came back to the Jamaica Tourist Board in October 2007, when he was appointed Chairman of the Board. In 2008, he was appointed Director of Tourism and serve in that capacity until May 2014.
Mr. Basil H. Smith served as Jamaica’s Director of Tourism from 2006 November 1 to 2008 October 31. He served previously as Deputy Director of Tourism from 1995 -1997.
A highly skilled marketing and communications specialist with a strong background in the tourist industry, Mr. Smith has worked as senior director, communications worldwide at the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism where he was responsible for the creation of its communications strategy and overall financial and administrative management of the Communications Department.
Prior to that appointment he served as Executive Vice President of the Bahamas Hotel Association from 2001-2003, where he coordinated and spearheaded lobbying initiatives on behalf of the hotel sector. Between 1997 and 1999, he was Managing Director of the public relations agency Creative Projects Ltd., during which time he had responsibility for coordinating the consultative stages of Jamaica’s Tourism Master Plan.
His wealth of experience spans both the public and private sectors. Among them Partner and Senior Vice President of the Counsellors Ltd., a leading marketing firm in the Bahamas, Special Assistant to the Minister in the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and first vice president of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives.
A trained journalist, Mr. Smith is a graduate of the College of Journalism in London.
STALWART IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Mr. Paul Pennicook is a graduate of the school of hotel administration at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
An experienced hotelier, Mr. Pennicook started his career at the Montego Beach Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica. While at Cornell and immediately after, he worked at the Sheraton Hotel and Statler Inn both in Ithaca, New York before returning to his native home in Jamaica.
Subsequently, he held management positions at the Holiday Inn – Montego Bay before going on to work as general manager at Couples, Ocho Rios, then as senior vice president of sales and marketing for Super clubs.
In 1995, Mr. Pennicook joined unique vacations (the marketing arm of the Sandals Resorts chain) as Executive Vice President. In august of 1997, he was appointed to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Couples Resorts which owns and operates the Couples group of hotels.
Mr. Pennicook has served as first vice president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and was chairman of that organization’s marketing committee. He was named hotelier of the year in 2001 by the Jamaica hotel & tourist association.
Mr. Pennicook was appointed Director of Tourism for Jamaica on March 1, 2003.
Mr. Pennicook serves on the board of the Victoria Mutual Building Society.
A wine connoisseur, Mr. Pennicook has visited vineyards in California (USA), Australia and Europe studying blends peculiar to these regions.
He is a sports enthusiast, who enjoys watching tennis, football and cricket. He plays squash, enjoys a variety of music and fine dining.
His professional career spans over 32 years, all of which have been spent in the hotel, travel and tourism industry.
ONE OF THE 100 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN THE TRAVEL BUSINESS
Mrs. Fay Pickersgill, the Executive director of Tourism Action Plan Ltd. (TAP) and wife of Anthony Pickersgill, the brother of Minister of Public Utilities, Mining and Energy, Robert Pickersgill is the new director of Tourism. Her appointment comes two years after the then Director of Tourism, Robert Stevens, quit the post.
Mrs. Pickersgill’s appointment becomes effective on February 1. Ray Barrett, the director- /chairman under a temporary arrangement” which lasted all of two years, will remain as chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). Industry, Tourism and Commerce Minister, Senator Carlyle Dunkley, announced the appointment of the new Director of Tourism at yesterday’s post- Cabinet news briefing at the Jamaica House Press Centre. He said the appointment was unanimously approved by Cabinet.
Mrs. Pickersgill holds a Masters degree in Accounting and Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies, (UWI) and is the mother of two daughters.
Mrs. Pickersgill brought to the directorship a wealth of experience gained in the tourism industry, having served there for 25 years. “Mrs. Pickersgill brings to the post an intimate knowledge and understanding of the industry and has consistently demonstrated a dynamic approach to her varied tasks,” Senator Dunkley told journalists. “She has displayed strong management capability as well as team-building and leadership qualities.”
He noted that she served as director of Planning, Research and Statistics at the Jamaica Tourist Board/Ministry of Tourism, where she initiated, developed and implemented new market evaluation strategies for the tourism industry and chairman of the Committee which prepared the Tourism Five Year Development Plan.
She also served on a number of Boards, including the JTB, and is a council member of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, (JHTA),and a director of the Airports Authority of Jamaica, the Greater Montego Bay Re-Development Company, the NegrilGreen -Island Local Planning Authority and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
Fay Pickersgill has been named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the travel business. Fay served Jamaica’s tourism with distinction for more than 30 years.
“As a director of the JTB, she made an indelible impression on the historic landmark of the Board’s achievements. Her creative energies were unleashed in the formation of the Tourism Action Plan Limited, a forerunner to TPDCO. “It was under her leadership at the Tourist Board that Jamaica was credited as being ‘the most complete and diverse warm weather destination’. “Perhaps one of Fay’s crowning achievement is her pivotal role played in transforming the attitude of young Jamaicans towards tourism. She successfully brought tourism to the classroom, when she collaborated with the Ministry of Education to introduce the subject in the school’s curriculum”.
Mrs. Pickersgill holds the National Honour, Commander of Distinction.
In assuming the challenging office of Director of Tourism, Robert Stephens came to the Jamaica Tourist Board with optimism, the drive to achieve and the belief that under his direction the organization could make considerable strides in developing the industry. He brought to the post considerable experience in marketing, management and an understanding of the power of information and technology and the difference that all of these combined, could make to the development of tourism in Jamaica.
The closure of Eastern Air Lines and Pan American Airways, the Persian Gulf War, increased competition and the United States Travel Advisory issued on Jamaica in 1991, were just some of the obstacles that the Robert Stephens administration had to overcome.
Never one to sit on the sidelines, however, he motivated his staff and took action, by launching an aggressive product improvement and marketing campaign, in an attempt to breathe new life into a besieged industry.
Conscious of the power of the media, he sought to convert obstacles into opportunities and mounted a focused advertising campaign, to take advantage of a growing global television audience. He not only marketed the product in major traditional hubs such as North America and Europe, but boldly ventured into Latin America as well as Japan, a country already captivated by Jamaica’s music.
Robert Stephens understood the importance of the human element in the marketing mix and used familiarization tours, press trips and trade shows to break down the barriers of distance, culture and negative perceptions. These efforts were rewarded with a 60 per cent increase in air seats from Europe, growing interest in the island from Japan and Latin America, and an overall increase in arrivals for 1991 over 1990, Jamaica’s best year up to that time.
He will long be remembered for his emphasis on community involvement and his attempt to motivate people at all levels of society, to support the industry under the banner of the “Tourism Coalition”. Despite the turbulence of the industry both locally and internationally, when he demitted office in 1992, Jamaica was firmly established on a growth path. The Jamaica Tourist Board honours Robert Stephens for the zeal and application which he brought to his office and his invaluable service to the industry.
A tourism specialist consultant for the HEART NTA, Robert Stephens boasts over 30 years in senior man¬agement and consulting in Jamaica, Jordan, Ghana, Nigeria and the Caribbean. He is the conceptualizer of the Port Royal Heritage Tourism Development Project; a council member of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and a director of the Kingston City Centre Improvement Company.
In the Gleaner article entitled ‘Robert Stephens is… Boss of the Year’, dated Wednesday, April 13, 2005, pages 10 & 11, ROBERT ‘Bobby’ Stephens copped prizes valued at over $250,000 and the coveted 2005-2006 All-Island Boss of the Year Award.
FIRST WOMAN TO BE APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF TOURISM
In the history of Jamaica’s tourism and the corridors of the Jamaica Tourist Board, the name Carrole Guntley-Brady will always be remembered. She brought to the JTB grace, tolerance, tenacity, leadership and good management at a time when the industry faced one of the most challenging periods of its existence.
Carrole Guntley-Brady will also be remembered as the first woman to be appointed Director of Tourism in Jamaica. She was appointed Director of Tourism for Jamaica on June 5, 1984. Her distinguished career has marked her as a technocrat and professional with the appointed goal of promoting tourism in all its most valid manifestations.
Mrs. Brady began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board in 1973 while attending the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto, Canada. Beginning then, until 1978, she worked summer and vacation jobs with the Board, both in Jamaica and Canada. Her various positions included Telephone Communications Operator and Administrative Assistant, Product Department.
While at Ryerson, she received numerous accolades in recognition of her exceptional academic achievements. The awards included: The Inaugural Pringle Scholarship in Hotel Management awarded by the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Ryerson and Korey Gold Medals for exceptional academic achievement and extensive participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
Following graduation, and receipt of a degree in Hotel and Tourism Management, she worked, from 1976 to 1978, as Executive Sales Manager of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston and, from 1978 to 1983, as Director of Sales and Public Relations at the Rose Hall Inter-Continental Hotel and Country Club in Montego Bay. In 1983 she was appointed Special Assistant to the Director of Tourism.
In 1978, she was elected to the Council of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and in 1982 was named a regional director of the Caribbean Hotel Association. (She relinquished these posts when she joined the staff of the Jamaica Tourist Board). In 1983, Mrs. Brady was presented with the Golden Helm International Award. Sometimes called “The Oscar of International Tourism”, it was awarded to her for “having contributed with real competence and dedication to the determining factors for development of tourism”.
In 1986, Mrs. Brady was named one of the top fifty business and professional women of the world by “Dollars & Sense Magazine” of the U.S.A, and in July of 1987 she was made an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. An Anglican, she takes an active interest in the culinary and performing arts and is known in Jamaica for her contributions as an organizer of highly acclaimed cabarets and fashion shows in aid of charity.
A former Special Assistant to the then Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Anthony Abrahams, Carrole Guntley-Brady assumed office in 1984 and was to remain as Director for the next six years. As a mark of the calibre and character of this worthy candidate, she served under three Ministers of Tourism, straddling different political administrations over the period.
Carrole Guntley-Brady brought to the JTB a holistic approach to tourism management and development. Quickly grasping the need for Jamaica to restore confidence among its people at home, rebuild its reputation overseas as a safe, desirable, destination and to remain competitive, she embarked upon the task of strengthening the tourism product. She advocated for and supported legislation to address the problems of harassment, and in 1986, also spearheaded a public education campaign to create awareness locally about the industry and its importance to every Jamaican.
A strong believer in the power of education, she constantly stressed and promoted the importance of training. She helped to create opportunities for workers at various levels and assisted some to benefit from overseas training.
During her administration, great emphasis was placed on Marketing and public relations. The JTB reopened its office in Germany; and new offices were opened in Japan and on the West Coast of United States of America. The creative “Boonoonoonous” vacation package was also launched in a bid to transform Jamaica from a winter retreat to a year-round vacation destination. These efforts were supported by “Update”, a programme instituted to reacquaint travel agents and writers with the delights of the island.
This strategic approach led to increased visibility and in 1986, Jamaica was awarded the bid to host the historic Mazda Golf Tournament, a coup for the country and the region.
In 1988, the passage of Hurricane Gilbert and the resulting damage to the island, posed yet another challenge for the Guntley-Brady administration. Proving once again her ability to rise to the occasion, she rallied her team and in an intensive awareness campaign averted serious damage to the island’s travel industry.
Her strong guidance and leadership as Director of tourism, contributed greatly to the island’s attainment of its one millionth visitor in 1987. She also launched the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX), Jamaica’s first’ and only sustained trade show, geared to showcase the product at source.
Today, Carrole Guntley-Brady’s name is synonymous with success, creativity, dynamism and dedication, not only in Jamaica but throughout the Caribbean. She continues her record of excellence with one of the region’s leading airlines.
According to the Gleaner article entitled ‘Pickersgill, Guntley among 10 women honoured at Caymanas’, the citation to Carrole Guntley read in part that: “She has established an international reputation for innovation and leadership. In an illustrious career that spans almost three decades, she has brought unparalleled growth to the sector. “She has brought a wide range of professional acumen to the field and has enjoyed the confidence of the industry.
During her tenure as director of tourism, Jamaica recorded phenomenal growth in this area for which Ms. Guntley has received several citations, awards and National Honours including the Order of Distinction, Commander Class. “She currently holds the position of director general in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and is a major player in Jamaica’s Master Plan for sustainable tourism development”.
INSTRUMENTAL IN SETTING THE STAGE FOR THE PHENOMENAL GROWTH OF THE 80’S
John Gentles became the Director of Tourism in 1980. His directorship lasted for four years until 1984. He took over the reins at a time when his energies had to be centered on regaining a growth path for Jamaica’s tourism. He was instrumental in setting the stage for the phenomenal growth of the eighties.
When the history of the development of tourism in Jamaica is recounted, Desmond Henry’s contribution to the quality of leadership and quantity of market, will be tactical lessons for emulation. As Director of Tourism for the administration entrusted to pilot the Jamaica Tourist Board through one of its most difficult periods, he paved the way for the successful marketing of Jamaica as a total product.
To an era impatient for change, Desmond Henry’s boldness, vision and disarmingly relaxed demeanour and management style, were welcome attributes. He also brought to the post a keen understanding of the importance of marketing and promotion.
As Director of Tourism, he fuelled the optimism that redefined Jamaica’s image in the global marketplace. His fierce sense of national pride, also prompted him to continue the marketing effort using the theme, “We’re More Than a Beach. We’re a Country”. This campaign helped to highlight new Ways of experiencing the island’s uniqueness in the Caribbean. It fired the imagination of Jamaican nationals as well as the international community and prompted a rediscovery of Jamaica’s magic.
A believer in the power of the community, Desmond Henry implemented programmes to bridge the gap between visitors and hosts. He encouraged a feeling of pride in Jamaicans by creating awareness about their stake in the industry. Through the “Discover Jamaica” campaign which he mounted successfully, he broke down the barriers of indifference erected by many Jamaicans, including influential opinion leaders in business and academia.
So compelling was his vision, that the government was persuaded to legalize tax credits to companies whose employees vacationed in Jamaica. At the end of this veritable “Buy Jamaica” campaign, there was a dramatic revision of public opinion and attitude towards the industry, resulting in a marked increase in local financial investment in the sector.
The crowning achievement of his administration, was Jamaica’s successful venture into Europe. Despite the myths of the 1970s that defined the limits of the tourism marketplace, Desmond Henry, buoyed by the enthusiasm of Jamaicans and his intuitive sensing of the new spirit of adventure among Europeans, pursued and captured that formidable frontier. His zeal was matched by the tireless efforts of tourism giants, Moses Matalon and Compton Rodney, with whom he forged a partnership that influenced and refashioned the tourism thrust for the European market.
Desmond Henry’s potent vision continues to influence how Jamaica is presented to the rest of the world. In Essence, Desmond Henry, according to the Gleaner 1995 November 7 is synonymous with the term ‘tourism giant’.
A COMMUNICATOR PAR EXCELLENCE
A communicator par excellence, Adrian Robinson was appointed Director of Tourism from 1975 to 1978. He brought to the office creativity, keen sensitivity and a profound understanding of tourism, and of Jamaica as a product to be marketed in its entirety not only overseas but to Jamaicans at home.
During his three year term as Director, Adrian Robinson demonstrated a clear understanding of Jamaica as a composite product with diverse attractions. He piloted the industry through a period of transition from the traditional sun, sea and sand concept, projecting the island as a multi-faceted jewel in the Caribbean.
Challenged by adverse publicity overseas and a downturn in visitor arrivals to the island, he was responsible not only to reverse these trends, but to project Jamaica as an attractive destination with proud and hospitable people.
Adrian Robinson will long be remembered for the repeat visitor campaigns, based on the philosophy that visitor satisfaction would generate increased visits. The innovative, “Take Me Back to Jamaica”, •Come Back to Jamaica”, •Frequent Traveller• and “Friend of Jamaica” campaigns, set new standards for tourism marketing both in Jamaica and the region. He also sought to build on the JTB tradition of providing satisfactory vacations for our visitors through the “Discover Jamaica Programme.” The •Jippa Jappa Festival•, which was introduced in 1977 to showcase the best of Jamaican culture to our visitors, also enhanced this effort.
His belief that emphasis should be placed on building future clientele for Jamaica, led his administration to target college students who were encouraged to visit the country for study or recreation. He also focused on attracting famous people to the island to enhance Jamaica’s image as a desirable and attractive destination, and laid the foundation for Jamaica to gain international acceptance as an ideal sports location.
Under Adrian Robinson’s leadership, Jamaicans were urged to be tourists in their own country and hoteliers were encouraged to create special packages to accommodate them. He recognised the need for Jamaica to increase its capacity for transporting visitors to the island, and played an important role in the arrival of American Airlines to Jamaica.
Adrian Robinson’s outstanding performance was rewarded by the positive upturn in arrivals for Jamaica in the Winter of 1977 and this trend continued to the and of his term of office in 1978.
The Jamaica Tourist Board salutes Adrian Robinson, whose memorable
message, “We’re more than a Beach. We’re a Country,” continues to define the marketing thrust for tourism in Jamaica.
1ST JAMAICAN TO SERVE HIS COUNTRY AS DIRECTOR AND MINISTER OF TOURISM.
The youngest ever to be appointed Director of Tourism, Eric Anthony Abrahams achieved this feat in April 1970, just one month short of his thirtieth birthday. His tenure marked one of the most exciting periods in the development of tourism in Jamaica. He was to continue his record breaking performance in the tourism sector ten years later, when in 1980, he also became the first Jamaican to serve his country as Director and Minister of Tourism.
Returning to his homeland in 1967 from England where he had gone several years earlier as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University, and from a successful career as Reporter/ Producer with BBC-TV, he joined the staff of the Jamaica Tourist Board as Administrative Assistant to the Director of Tourism, John Pringle, and later to his successor, Stuart Sharpe. One of his first responsibilities in his new post was the successful organization of the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments (JAVA), a co-operative of owners whose properties are available for rental to visitors.
Two years later he was appointed Assistant Director of Tourism, and in addition to his general duties, he was given special responsibilities for spearheading the Board’s Development Department. This was not surprising, as leadership and responsibility were not new to Eric Abrahams. From as early as 1958 when he entered the University of the West Indies to read Economics, History and English, his leadership qualities became evident. He was appointed Chairman of the Students’ Union and President of the Debating Society representing the University at Students’ Conferences in Europe and the Middle East. Graduating in 1961, he returned to teach at his old school, Jamaica College, until he gained the Rhodes Scholarship and left to read jurisprudence.
At Oxford he became known for his brilliance as a speaker and debater and distinguished himself by making the leap from Secretary of the Oxford Union Society to its President in 1963. His influence on the Union during his presidency was characterized by its outspoken and courageous voice on issues of racism and equality and matters affecting the international and human interests. It was not surprising then that he became the first black television reporter for the BBC covering events like Ghana Coup in 1965 and, throwing caution to the wind, matched wits with Haiti’s dreaded Ton Macoute to interview President (Papa Doc) Duvalier at great peril.
It is noteworthy that Abrahams’ appointment to the top tourism post coincided with a trend in the world of travel which was likely to change the whole face of international tourism. He brought to the position an intimate knowledge of the industry and a grasp of the qualities necessary to make Jamaica a premier destination. It was the era of mass travel made possible by low airfares, and where others saw obstacles, Anthony Abrahams grasped the opportunity to equip Jamaica to benefit from this development.
His courage and boldness were welcome attributes at a time when the trend in international travel was irrevocably altered. With a new era of mass travel, and the introduction of exceptionally low Trans-Atlantic airfares, it became apparent that Jamaica’s days of enticing the North American tourist because of its proximity and its natural beauty, would be coming to an end. Mr. Abrahams had the foresight to understand and anticipate this situation and to take up the challenge of equipping Jamaica to take action to avoid a slump in tourism.
Since assuming overall responsibility for the Board’s domestic and overseas operations, he had pursued three fundamental policies: more aggressive and imaginative marketing to promote travel to Jamaica, improvement of the quality of a Jamaican vacation at prices and on terms which are competitive internationally and a move to gain the social acceptance of tourism, and integrate the industry into the mainstream of Jamaican life.
Under his administration, the operations of the Board’s overseas sales offices have been substantially re-structured to take greater advantage of markets previously untapped or undeveloped, and to increase the efficiency and scope of services provided in traditional major market areas: more important, however, he introduced a planned and researched approach towards development of Jamaica’s tourist markets by planned programmes of marketing.
He introduced into the Board itself, hitherto a strictly public relations and promotional organization, a new dimension of professionalism.
One of his first tasks, on becoming Director, was to restructure the Board to include a Special Projects Department to deal with the establishment of visitor attractions, and to expose visitors to the culture, history and rural beauty of Jamaica. He created a Planning, Research & Statistics arm which permitted the Board for the first time to undertake its own in-depth research into the industry, and to back up its promotional thrusts with sound analytical data.
Eric Abrahams became well known in travel circles and particularly in the Caribbean for his initiative in airfare policy decisions: he sought, and gained for Jamaica a reduction by IATA. Carriers in air fares in 1970 and a better group travel rate. It is extremely significant, too, that he changed the attitude of other Caribbean destinations which had been accustomed to accept, without query, air travel policies affecting those countries. Where formerly the airlines controlled our destiny Jamaica took a voice in influencing its own air fare, scheduling and route situations.
He has served on the three-man Public Passenger Transport Commission, he is a member of the Island River Rafting Authority, Chairman of the Jamaica Hotel School Limited, a Director of Air Jamaica and a member of the Board of the Urban Development Corporation.
He also made an indelible mark in the area of training. Through the Product and Industry Affairs division, which he introduced at the JTB, more emphasis was placed on training workers in tourism. He is credited with encouraging a closer alliance between the JTB and other tourism entities across the island.
He left the Jamaica Tourist Board in 1975 to became the Executive Director of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica. He resigned that position when he was selected by the Jamaica Labour Party as member of the Senate, in which capacity he served from 1976 to 1977.
In 1978, the Organization of American States (OAS) appointed Minister Abrahams Regional Director of Tourism Programmes with special responsibility for Technical Assistance Projects in the Caribbean and Central America. In this capacity he was an adviser to the governments of Haiti, Grenada, Bolivia, E1 Salvador and Barbados.
Leaving the OAS in 1980 to return to Jamaica, Minister Abrahams was elected Member of Parliament for Eastern Portland, (the parish of which Port Antonio is the capital).
PATRIOT & LOVER OF THE ISLANDS ATTRIBUTES
E. Stuart Sharpe has had extensive experience in almost every phase of the tourist industry in Jamaica and overseas, and as Director of Sales and Promotion of the Jamaica Tourist Board from 1963 until 1967, he traveled widely and was deeply involved in the promotion of the island’s fantastic tourist growth.
Stu, as he is called by friends, was born January 24, 1916, and received his education at the Diocesan High School, Mandeville, and St. George’s College, one of Jamaica’s foremost schools. He also attended a special summer course at the School of Hotel administration, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
His career in the tourist industry started almost immediately after graduating from St. George’s College when he organized Sharpe’s Tropical Tours in Kingston and Montego Bay. His career was temporarily interrupted when he joined the United States Army during World ‘War 11. After discharge, Stuart Sharpe worked with Pan American Airways in Miami, and later went into partnership with Ferdie Martin to form Martin’s Tropical Tours (now called Martin’s Tours – Jamaica’s foremost tour operators.)
In 1949, Stuart Sharpe was appointed Assistant Manager, then Acting Manager of the Tower Isle Hotel in Ocho Rios. He left the Tower Isle to become United States Representative of the Nassau Bahamas Development Board: a post he held until 1951.
In 1951 he returned to Jamaica as Manager of the Silver Seas Hotel in Ocho Rios, a post he held until 1954, when he again left Jamaica to become the Director of Sales of the Gill Hotels in Fort Lauderdale and Nassau. ‘while Director of Sales, Stuart Sharpe was asked’ to form a Tourism Committee within the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, of which he was appointed Chairman.
It was during this period that he created the now famous Fort Lauderdale Ambassadors, and planned all the co-operative promotions for that area between 1955 and 1959. In 1960 Stuart Sharpe again returned to Jamaica to become Managing Director of the Falcondip Hotel in Ocho Rios. In June, 1963.he accepted the appointment as Director of Sales and Promotion in the reorganized Tourist Board, and became a member of its fiveman Government Board.
As Director of Sales and Promotion, Stuart Sharpe was charged with the designing of general policies governing the operation of the Board’s sales organizations in North America, Canada and the United Kingdom, and with the implementation of these policies. Also under his supervision was the operation of a Group Development Bureau; travel agency and wholesaler relationships; the planning, organization, and administration of promotion trips to the United States, Canada, England and Europe. He also represented the Director of Tourism at local and overseas functions.
That E. Stuart Sharpe has made a substantial contribution is without doubt. Jamaica’s tourist indusrv had reached a record low and was much in need of a strong Tourist Board to bring it out of the chaotic situation into which it had lapsed since 1960. Since 1963 the number of tourists visiting Jamaica has increased by over 70 per cent. Particularly impressive is the long-stay visitor increase of some 160 per cent. Estimated tourist income has risen from £13 million to £30 million.
Attributable to Stuart Sharpe’s efforts is the tremendous increase of group travel (16 persons and over), which accounted for 15.6 per cent of all long-stay visitors in 1966. For E. Stuart Sharpe, former Director of Tourism who served the JTB from 1967 to 1970, the development and promotion of Jamaica as an attractive and preferred destination has been a lifelong passion.
A patriot and lover of the island’s attributes from childhood, Stuart Sharpe soon grasped the important role that tourism would play in the economic life of the country. He entered the travel industry by establishing his own tour company at the age of nineteen. After the war and studies in Hotel Management at Cornell University in the United States of America, he joined forces with Ferdie Martin at Martin’s Tropical Tours in 1946.
He later increased his experience in the hospitality industry at the newly built Tower Isle Hotel, now Couples, in other hotels in the Bahamas and Florida, and at the Silver Seas Hotel which he operated from 1951-1964.
Armed with an intimate knowledge of the industry, he was appointed to the position of Deputy Director of Tourism with responsibility for Sales and Promotion at the JTB in 1963, and in partnership with the memorable John Pringle as Director, proceeded to blaze a trail, for Jamaica’s tourism internationally.
As a mark of his accomplishments, Stuart Sharpe was appointed Director of Tourism in 1967; and his acceptance of that: office signaled another significant turning point in the development of the industry.
Building on the initiatives to increase visitor arrivals to the island, Stuart Sharpe also realized the importance of constructing new and diverse facilities to accommodate them. To his lasting credit is the vision which founded the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments (JAVA), a concept which not only emphasized product diversity but aimed to encourage small entrepreneurs to invest in tourism.
He is remembered for the importance which he placed on long-term planning and product improvement, his attempts to improve and preserve the Courtesy Corps, to upgrade and modernize the In-Bond system, as well as to encourage the construction of the Ocho Rios by-pass road to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic to and from this popular resort area.
Stuart Shape maintains his interest in Jamaica and continues to promote the island’s attributes at every opportunity. The name E. Stuart Sharpe is one which the Jamaica Tourist Board and the people of Jamaica remember with pride and deep appreciation, for his dedication and lifelong contribution to building Jamaica’s tourism.
JAMAICA’S FIRST DIRECTOR OF TOURISM
Dynamic, creative and innovative are just some of the adjectives which have been used to describe John Pringle, C.B.E., Jamaica’s first Director of Tourism. His vision and foresight, helped to transform tourism from a marginal enterprise to an industry, which now commands pride of place in the Caribbean and is the island’s major economic mainstay.
A shrewd, successful and internationally accomplished entrepreneur, the young John Pringle did not hesitate to answer when the Jamaican government called on him in 1963 to assume directorship of the Jamaica Tourist Board. His stewardship more than justified the choice for such a critical position, as under his leadership, tourism earnings were almost tripled in the first three years of his tenure, soaring from IIS$37.8 million to IIS$84 million.
The bold approach and constant supply of fresh ideas which he brought to the position is legendary. Many of the systems which he introduced to the JTB and the marketing programmes which were launched for Jamaica under his administration, are still being implemented almost thirty years after he demitted office.
It was under John Pringle’s guidance that a formal system for assessing and grading hotels based on their price structure, was first introduced in Jamaica. This served to improve accommodation for visitors and to raise the standard of the overall product.
He encouraged the ongoing development and expansion of hotel properties, so that the country could benefit from the boom in travel industry, brought about by improved air travel and increased cruise ship calls to the island.
His vision for tourism development, however, was not only focused on the visitor. His belief that Jamaicans should play an important role in shaping the industry, inspired him to conceive the idea for the formation of the “Jamaica Fashion Guild” in 1966 and to introduce the “Meet The People” promotion. The “Meet The People Programme” is still a major JTB activity, and it continues to forge a synergy between visitor and host through the sharing of common interests.
The end of his term of office as Director of Tourism in 1967 did not mark the end of his association with the JTB or of his interest in promoting Jamaica as a preferred destination. Although he re¬located to London, he continued to make a valuable contribution through the New York based advertising agency Doyle, Dane and Bernbach, which was contracted by the then government to market Jamaica overseas.
John Pringle’s engaging personality, commitment, drive, inspired leadership, and brilliant foresight, helped Jamaica to realise the true potential of tourism to the country and the economy, and established the island as an industry leader in the region. For his efforts, he was awarded the C.B.E.
His exemplary performance and outstanding contribution continue to inspire and to motivate those who have inherited
his rich legacy.
The Jamaica Tourist Board is proud to salute John Pringle for his exceptional record of service. Through his achievements, he has indelibly imprinted his name on the annals of Jamaica’s tourism industry.