PORT ANTONIO, Portland — Diana Rodriquez, project director for Air Canada Vacations in the English-speaking Caribbean, was in Jamaica recently and stopped at Trident Castle, Port Antonio, looking at ways in which Canadians can impact the tourism product.
"This is an eye-opening experience as I didn't realise really how beautiful it was, how peaceful it was. There is a very strong sense of community here and I am delighted that I had the opportunity to be here," she told the Jamaica Observer.
Air Canada Vacations, with its new leisure airline Air Canada Rouge, is set to come into Jamaica in a very big way starting this fall, she pointed out.
"What we need to do is to get Canadians to understand that there are so many different sides to Jamaica. We need to start exploring these types of beautiful little oasis towns and that is what we need to be concentrating on. The drive from Kingston was exploratory and perfectly lovely, not unusual and wasn't too long and there is no reason why we should not be exploring this side of the island, but we need to get the word out that it exists and is so different from the other side of the island and has so much more to offer," Rodiquez added.
The Air Canada Vacations rep went further to say that the fact that much of the natural environment remained in tact in Portland was a drawing card for local tourism as "health and wellness and ecotourism [are] getting very popular and persons are spending time researching where to go to have these types of holidays".
"Not destroying trees and building around them that's fascinating to people. They don't want to see vegetation destroyed, they want to be a part of the environment. I think there is a big future for a little town like this," she said.
Rodriguez also stopped at GeeJam on her recent trip and described it as "Amazing, beautiful, spectacular".
"It's simple, it's very clean, sincere and authentic and the colour of the water at Somerset Falls is amazing," she said.