Jamaica's embassy in Japan has made contact with 25-year-old Tijana Stojkovic, the Olympics volunteer who helped Jamaican hurdler Hansle Parchment get to the Olympics Stadium in Tokyo on Tuesday, July 3 for his semi-final race, after he took a wrong bus en route to the venue.
An ecstatic Stojkovic who has, since Parchment's revelation of her kindness, gained over 70,000 followers on her Instagram account d_treefairy, told the Jamaica Observer that the embassy reached out to her on Thursday and signalled to her that she may get to visit Jamaica sooner than she had thought.
“The embassy of Jamaica in Japan… I will meet them soon, or they will contact me again. I'm so impressed. Everyone still really thanks me,” she said.
When the Sunday Observer asked about her family and friends' reaction, Stojkovic responded: “They all say it is an honour.”
She had given Parchment 10,000 yen (just over US$90) to pay for transportation to the stadium where he finished in second place securing a spot in the final. Parchment eventually won gold in the final, creating a major upset over the favourite, the USA's Grant Holloway.
Meanwhile, senior advisor and strategist in the tourism ministry Delano Seiveright told the Sunday Observer that the ministry has scheduled a virtual meeting with Stojkovic for Wednesday at 6:00 pm Jamaica time (approximately 8:00 am Tokyo time).
“We're bringing her to Jamaica. We're supposed to have a formal thing with her on Thursday of this week at about 10:00 am Japan time at the embassy in Japan. It will be virtual between the Ministry of Tourism and the embassy in Japan, where we are going to award her with a special visit to Jamaica with a friend of hers. We're moving forward,” he said.
“We are now basically formally extending the offer to her to come to Jamaica. We have made progress and she will be coming to Jamaica soon to take up her super vacation offer. CNN and other international media outlets have been reaching out to us as it relates to her and this whole thing.”
Seiveright added that the idea is to have Stojkovic in Jamaica for a week “…so she can enjoy the country as much as she possibly can”.
He said that Stojkovic's and Parchment's actions “have really shown Jamaica in a truly positive light”.
Last Tuesday, Stojkovic posted a photo on her Instagram account showing her in the Jamaica-branded shirt she was gifted by 31-year-old Parchment after he tracked her down to thank her days after he had won the gold medal.
“I'm full of gratitude to everyone. This is a gift from dear Hansle. Perfect fit! Thank you so much, dear Hansle! Thank you for the kind thoughts everyone. I can't thank you enough. Your words saved me a lot. I pray for everyone's health and happiness,” she wrote.
The photo has since garnered over 105,000 likes and more than 8,000 comments.
Yesterday, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett told the Sunday Observer that he has reached out to the Japanese ambassador in Jamaica to coordinate Stojkovic's trip.
“The tourist board, the embassy here, and the embassy in Japan, we are coordinating for the vacation to be given to her for her humanitarian act and her act of friendship that she showed to our champion. That's really what we're saying,” he said.
“First of all, we had to find [out] the disposition of the lady… whether she was interested in coming, and that we have cleared. So now we can do the arrangements.”
Bartlett said, even better, Jamaica has begun its post-COVID-19 marketing strategy for the Japanese market.
“The Japanese market remains an attractive one for Jamaica, having had a history of more than 30,000 visitors coming here in the 1980s. And now we think that there's a new opportunity, post-COVID, to renew that market engagement,” he said.
Minister of Entertainment and Culture Olivia “Babsy” Grange told the Sunday Observer that Stojkovic will remain in the Tourism Resilient Corridor that is governed by a strictly enforced set of COVID protocols and standards for the tourism sector.
“There are lots of attractions within the corridor that she could explore,” Grange said.