The tagline for Jamaica’s marketing campaign is Once You Know, You Go. Catchy, yes? Also, absolutely, positively true. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to be part of a family bloggers press tour organized by the Jamaican Tourist Board. It marked my fifth visit to Jamaica. You could say I already know, and that’s why I go....again and again.
Way back in the 1400s, Columbus described Jamaica as “the fairest island the eyes have beheld; mountains and the land seem to touch the sky...all full of valleys and plains.” Columbus may have been a little bit of a fibber on his “discoveries” but the man sure knew how to describe a land. Natural beauty abounds in Jamaica, from crystal blue waters and soft white sand, to lush green mountains and valleys. Flora, fauna and fun. There is no question that this is what calls to me on cold winter days in Canada, but there’s something else that keeps me going back.
If you go to Jamaica more than once, you don’t get the standard “Welcome Back” so many places give you, you get a very sincere “Welcome Home”. The people of Jamaica are so warm, funny and sweet, that when they say that to you, it’s not canned, it’s genuine. For me, that first “Welcome Home” when I hit the island, sets me immediately at ease. My children know to look for it now too.
When talking with Wayne, our tour guide, I told him the people of Jamaica was what drew me back. Apparently, I’m not alone. When the Jamaican Tourist Board hands out surveys to tourists, the people of Jamaica consistently rise to the top. I am not surprised at all by this information. There is a consistency amongst those in the service industry that does not change from resort to resort, cabbie to captain, horse leader to dive instructor. The Jamaican people are happy to see you and spend time with you. They are experts at making you feel welcome.
I have much more to share with you about hotels and things to do with your family when you visit, but I wanted you to know this; there are lots of places with sun and sand, but Jamaica is the real deal when it comes to hospitality.
To my Jamaican friends, I’m working on getting back home. Soon. Come back.