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Argentina's reggae star supports Jamaica's tourism push

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Popular Argentinean reggae star, Mariano Javier Castro, made a special visit to a reception for travel media, tour operators, airline executives and travel agents in Argentina's capital city, Buenos Aires last weekend.

The reception, organised by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), was attended by Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and other Jamaican tourism officials.

Castro, popularly known as Dread Mar-I, was born on January 31, 1978 in Buenos Aires. After leaving seventh grade, he moved to Maip˙ (Buenos Aires), where he began working in the bakery that his father had opened.

After working several jobs, he began to take his first steps in his music career as a chorus singer of Messengers Reggae but became known in the music world as Dread Mar I, when in 2005 he decided to launch his solo career.

In 2006 he participated in the first edition of the classic Bob Marley Day Festival before a crowded Luna Park stadium with thousands of spectators.

“Dread Mar I has nearly five million Facebook followers and near a million on Instagram. He is passionate about Jamaica and regularly performs at shows from Mexico straight down to Argentina before thousands of fans. It was good to have him at the event and we thank Argentinian Ambassador to Jamaica His Excellency Ariel Fernandez for making the necessary connections,” noted Delano Seiveright, senior advisor and strategist to the Tourism Minister.

Argentina and Chile account for the bulk of tourist arrivals from Latin America into Jamaica with approximately 10,000 tourists visiting last year.

Jamaica recorded a 16 per cent increase in visitor arrivals from Latin America last year and over 12 per cent increase for the first two months of this year.

The popularity of reggae music and the proliferation of Argentinian, Chilean and other reggae singers and bands has become a major selling point for Brand Jamaica in the region.

Bartlett announced that one of Latin America's largest airlines, Copa, will now fly daily between Panama City and Montego Bay starting July of this year, bringing to 11 the overall number of flights weekly between both cities.

"The move to daily service between Panama City, Copa's major hub, and Montego Bay, our tourist capital, will make it easier for tourists visiting from several nations including Argentina and Chile which are among our most robust Latin American markets," he said.

Bartlett is headlining a tour with Director of Tourism, Donovan White; senior advisor/strategist to Minister Bartlett, Delano Seiveright and other Ministry and JTB officials across Argentina, Chile, Peru and Colombia. Engagements include meetings with the leadership of Latin America's largest airlines including Copa, LatAm and Avianca; the largest tour operators; leaders of travel focused TV, Radio, print and online media; Government officials and influential travel agents.

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