Bob Marley. The mere mention of the name conjures images of the culture, music, and soul of Jamaica.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) was eager to share this soulful side of the destination at its Bob Marley One Love Experience in Toronto, where Open Jaw was among travel advisors, travel partners, and friends of the JTB who were invited to celebrate this reggae legend at Toronto’s Lighthouse Immersive Artspace on 07JUL.
The immersive exhibit (which is on until 14AUG in Toronto) brings to life the legacy of Marley through a series of immersive rooms that showcase his legacy and Jamaican heritage. From a smoky Jamaican forest explaining the significance of cannabis to Marley to a silent disco booming his music, guests travel through six rooms of multi-sensory experiences detailing his life.
“Bob Marley is a legend, a global icon, who truly had the power and presence to use his immense musical and storytelling talents to change the world. Over this short life, he impacted so many and his legend lives on. Bob Marley is the very essence of Jamaica. Reggae is Jamaica and Jamaica is reggae,” said Angella Bennett, the JTB’s Regional Director, Canada.
“To all our trade partners, visitors, and guests here this evening, we invite you to come back with a little bit of Jamaica you can find in all of us.”
Reigniting a Nation for Greatness for Jamaica 60
The JTB and its guests had another reason to be Jammin’ that evening: Jamaica is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee on 06AUG, 2022, marking 60 years of independence under the theme of “Reigniting a Nation for Greatness.”
“This was a perfect partnership to celebrate our 60th year of independence and the legacy that lives in Jamaica, which is our music,” Bennett told Open Jaw at the event.
Bennett had a few words of advice for travel advisors selling or considering selling Jamaica to their clients.
“Now, more than ever, it’s the time to be booking Jamaica because we are celebrating and we invite everybody to celebrate with us. What we are seeing now is that people are looking to taste, to feel, to touch the island and immerse themselves in the culture. Whether they want to do an adventure holiday, a family reunion, or travel alone, Jamaica has something for everyone,” she said.
Jamaica hit its one millionth stopover arrival for 2022 on 15JUN, and has since welcomed a total of over 1.3 million passengers overall, highlighted Bennett.
And the outlook from the Canadian market continues to shine.
“We have all our flight partners, so we are covered for air lift as a destination. Air Canada, WestJet Vacations, Sunwing, Transat, and Air Canada Vacations have kept the flights consistent. For the summer, we have a good number of flights going down daily to Jamaica and this winter, we have even more air lift than we had in 2019. We are covered with air lift out of Toronto, Montreal, and we also have Swoop out of Hamilton this winter,” Bennet said.
“We are seeing very good load factors for the summer, around 80 percent, and we’re anticipating a bumper winter,” she added.
“A love affair” with Jamaica
As one of the longest serving airline partners to Jamaica (it’s been flying to the destination for some 40 years), Air Canada Vacations (ACV) certainly has a great familiarity, if not a bit of a soft spot, for this Caribbean paradise.
“On behalf of Air Canada Vacations, I would like to congratulate the beautiful island country of Jamaica as it celebrates 60 years of independence, and what better way to mark this significant milestone than to honour their country’s national treasure, Bob Marley, a legend and world-renowned singer, musician, and songwriter?” said Dina Bertolo, VP of Product Development at ACV.
“We at ACV are extremely proud of our partnership—or I should say our love affair—with Jamaica. Jamaica has so much to offer—fabulous beaches, scrumptious flavour and spices of Jamaican cuisine, the genuine warmth of the people, reggae, and, of course, Bob Marley.”
“Jamaica means everything to us”
Just as Marley is to Jamaica, Jamaica is to Sandals.
“Jamaica means everything to us,” Maureen Barnes-Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing at Unique Vacations Canada, told Open Jaw at the event.
“We started in Jamaica; it’s where we were born 40 years ago. We’ve expanded to other islands, but Jamaica means everything. Our late Chairman, Butch Stewart, was a sixth generation Jamaican.”
The day before the event, 06JUL, would have been Stewart’s 81st birthday. The resort brand had also just opened reservations for the fully reconceptualized Sandals Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios, set to welcome guests starting 24MAY, 2023.