Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has announced the appointment of John Lynch as Director of Tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), effective December 1, 2008.

According to the Tourism Minister, the current environment dictates that quick and decisive action be taken to fill the post of Director of Tourism which became vacant following Basil Smith’s decision to not renew his contract which expired in October. “Lynch’s knowledge, experience and strength in sales make him an ideal candidate to fill the available post,” noted Bartlett.

Minister Bartlett pointed out that the status of the tourism industry worldwide coupled with the current economic climate demands new creative thinking and a new strategy to cope with the ever increasing challenges. Mr. Lynch will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the JTB and the country’s global tourism marketing.

The Board, prior to its dissolution had unanimously recommended by resolution that the sitting Chairman be considered for the top post given his vast global experience and to facilitate a smooth transition.

The appropriate selection panel conducted an extensive search which included Mr. Lynch among the shortlist of candidates interviewed and recommended to the Minister his appointment as Director of Tourism.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Lynch worked for 16 years as executive vice president of Unique Vacations, with overall responsibility for public relations, sales promotions, and group sales and is credited with being a major force in the development of all Sandals Resorts brands worldwide.

A strong tourism leader, Mr. Lynch has also had experience in the public sector by serving the Jamaica Tourist Board in a variety of capacities in the past: senior manager of trade services, regional director based in Chicago, and deputy director of tourism, responsible for sales, marketing and conventions and overseas offices. He was a driving force behind the award-winning Come Back to Jamaica campaign that significantly increased visitor arrivals during his tenure.

The wider regional industry has also benefited from the expertise of Mr. Lynch where he serves as third vice president of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), chairing its marketing committee. He also sits on the board of directors for the Caribbean Tourism Development Corporation (CTDC), a merger of the Caribbean Hotel Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Minister Bartlett said he is looking forward to working with the new Director of Tourism as part of a renewed thrust to drive Jamaica’s tourism industry to new heights. “Mr. Lynch is one of the finest marketers in the tourism business today to be found anywhere in the world. He possesses the expertise and tireless energy that we need to meet the fierce challenges facing Jamaica in the global tourism marketplace today,” Bartlett noted.

Mr. Lynch welcomes his appointment as Tourism Director, “I am eager to give back to Jamaica’s tourism industry and I look forward to working with the new Board as we protect and grow our market share in this challenging period,” said Lynch.