Western Canada Says Goodbye to the Jamaica Red Eye

With Vickie Sam Paget

Question: What’s the coolest way to kick off a fun presentation about Jamaica?

Answer: Give away a bottle of Appleton Rum!

This was the winning formula Emma Madsen, business development manager for the Jamaica Tourist Board, used at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown on Wednesday night to attract the attention of 70 travel agents at the destination’s Fall Product Seminar.

The prizes continued to flow steadily throughout the evening as Mead presented the latest product and destination updates to the crowd, who happily dined on jerk chicken as they listened.

“Last year we saw over 400,000 Canadians coming to our little island, and we’re expecting really good things this year,” she enthused.

Mead said that Jamaica has seen a 12% increase from Western Canada alone over the last year, and visitor figures are set to soar even further this year. 

“The really exciting news from WestJet is that they have just started a non-stop service from Calgary,” she explained. “And in January it’s going to be increased to twice-weekly. This means your clients from Vancouver and Abbotsford can connect all on the same day on their way there and on their way home. And if you are sourcing flights from other areas of BC, you can also sell it from Comox, Kelowna, Kamloops, Cranbrook and Fort St John. 

“WestJet is really opening up Jamaica from Western Canada. You don’t need to do the red-eye. You can leave in the morning and you’ll be in your bed in Jamaica that night.” 

Mead added that Transat is also starting a program to Jamaica from Vancouver, connecting through Toronto. She also highlighted the return of Sunwing’s non-stop service from Vancouver to the island.

“I know a lot of clients say the Caribbean is so far away, but it’s only six and a half hours from Vancouver. That’s really just two movies, a meal and a cocktail – and then you’re in Jamaica!” she smiled.

Vickie Sam Paget

Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent

Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.


Emma Madsen, business development manager at the Jamaica Tourist Board.


Shamshad Hussain of Expedia Cruise Ship Centres, Marie Yakemchuk of Travel Masters and Sheri Juby of Sunrise Travel.

Martha Dela Torre, area sales manager at Air Canada Vacations.

Marta Kozlowski and Georgina Brocolas of Pitt Meadows Travel.

Winston Chang, business development manager, Unique Vacations Canada.

Penny DeRuyter of Bon Voyage Travel & Cruise Center with Freddie Marsh, business development manager at Playa Hotels & Resorts.

Tricia Kentel, business development representative at Transat.

Elena Miller of Selloff Vacations with Resi Hoglander of TTI Travel.



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