Shortly after the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) announced that John Lynch will resign as Jamaica’s director of tourism at the end of May, Travel Agent spoke with the longtime tourism icon to find out why he decided to step down.
Lynch, who has served as director for more than five years, has had his contract renewed three times and has worked for two different ministers (Edmund Bartlett and Wykeham McNeill), told Travel Agent he simply accomplished all of his goals in serving as director and was looking forward to spending more time with his family and less time traveling for business.
“Jamaica is a wonderful country and this is probably the most interesting job I ever had in a long career in the tourism industry,” says Lynch. “It just got to the point where it was a lot of pressure and a lot of traveling.”
As far as the most challenging and rewarding part of his tenure, Lynch points to the privatization of Air Jamaica, which was responsible for roughly 47 percent of visitors to Jamaica. Through the privatization, those numbers were cut dramatically so the JTB, namely Lynch, was responsible for attracting new carriers to the county in order to make up those lost visitors.
So how did he do?
Last year, Jamaica welcomed more than two million visitors for the first time in the country’s history.
“I did everything I wanted to do,” Lynch told Travel Agent. “Now, it’s time for some fresh blood to come in an hopefully get four million visitors.”
Although a new director has not been named yet, Lynch already has some advice for whoever that person will be.
“Stick to the plan,” he says. “We need to encourage more hotel rooms to come into Jamaica and then the sky is limit.”
During the period leading up to his departure, Lynch will work to maintain the smooth and continued flow of the organization’s work, and will assist with the search for a new director. Once that individual has been selected, Lynch will also help with the transition.
As far as his future goes, Lynch said he has not decided if he plans on retiring for good or if he will get involved in the industry again in another capacity.
But for now?
“I’m going on holiday in Jamaica with my children,” he says. “That is the next order of business. That is the only plan I have right now.”