Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — When Philip Rose took over as Regional Director, Canada for the Jamaica Tourist Board seven years ago, he came here from the U.S. “and I had all my big ideas. I quickly learned that Canada is a very unique market with nuances that cannot be overlooked.”
Rose is leaving the JTB’s Canadian office for a new post with the tourism board, an appointment he says he’ll be able to announce in the next couple of weeks. He starts his new role in the new year, and meanwhile a new Regional Director will be announced for the Canadian market.
Does Rose have any advice for the incoming new Regional Director? “Ask questions. Listen. Trust the team. And trust the partners,” he says.
Asked what he’s most proud of, looking back on his 7 years heading up the Canadian market, Rose singles out his Canadian team: “I’m especially proud of how active, how professional my team has been here.” And, he adds, he’s proud of all the extra airlift to Jamaica.
When Rose took over the post seven years ago, the Canadian dollar was starting to decline after a run at-par, prices to Jamaica had gone up and capacity had gone down. “It was like ‘Welcome to Canada, Philip’,” he jokes.
“All of our partners rallied together and went to the market and our numbers started to rise.”
Over the 7 years, “we’ve done remarkably well,” says Rose.
More importantly than the increase in visitor numbers from the Canadian market, Rose and his JTB have also put in place new strategies that will ensure ongoing visitor satisfaction levels with the Jamaica travel experience remain high, and return rates stay high as well. “We’re not only interested in the numbers increasing from Canada, but also customer satisfaction,” he says.
He adds: “We firmly believe one of the reasons for our high return rate is that we take the time and invest the resources to ensure our retail partners have the tools to make sure their clients are in the resort that’s right for them.”
Rose says he wants to thank everyone in the industry for all the support over the years. “I have made some incredible friends here, both in the industry and in the community. I will miss you all! Canada has been good not only to me, but to my family too. We have been proud to call Canada home for seven wonderful years, and we are truly going to miss it…other than the Toronto traffic and winters, of course,” he jokes.
Rose officially ends his stint as Regional Director, Canada for the JTB on Dec. 15 – “just before the brutally cold temperatures”.
Seven years ago Rose arrived in Canada from Texas, where he was in charge of the Western USA market. Is he headed back to the U.S. in his new JTB role? Time will tell but if it’s another cold climate, he’ll be well-prepared, thanks to the lessons he learned here in Canada: “I now wear a toque as opposed to a hat.”