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.