With warmest wishes and the deepest gratitude for his many years of dedicated service to the organization, the Jamaica Tourist Board has announced that it will be bidding farewell to its Deputy Director of Tourism, Americas, Mr. Donnie Dawson, who will be retiring as of March 31, 2023.
“Jamaica is deeply indebted to Donnie Dawson for his decades of service to develop and promote tourism to the island,” said the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica.
“He has been a steadfast ambassador throughout the years, dedicated to helping Jamaica become one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. We are truly grateful to him for everything he has accomplished and wish him a very happy retirement.”
Mr. Dawson joined the Jamaica Tourist Board at its Kingston Headquarters as a Sales Representative in 1975. After a brief employment with Jamaica Resort Hotels, he re-joined the Tourist Board in California in 1982 and was tasked with expanding what was then a satellite office into a full-service regional operation covering thirteen States. In 2003, Mr. Dawson was appointed Deputy Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board with location in the Board’s Miami office, further serving two times as interim Director of Tourism.
“We are truly saddened to see Donnie go, as he has been a respected colleague and an invaluable leader to the Board over the many years he has worked with us and whose passion and drive helped make our tourism industry what it is today,” said Donovan White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board. “However, we wish him only the best as he leaves his storied career to pursue life beyond it and we will absolutely remain in touch. Donnie will indeed be missed!”
A face well known and respected by tourism professionals in the Caribbean and globally, Mr. Dawson earned himself the nickname of “Mr. Airlift” among colleagues due to his ongoing work with airlines to provide service to Jamaica. He is also credited with helping to develop the destination’s strong relationship with travel professionals and the Jamaica Travel Specialist program to educate agents about the island’s tourism product offerings.
“I am so proud of all Jamaica has accomplished throughout the years, having grown from having only charter flights and no all-inclusives to become one of the top tourism destinations globally,” said Donnie Dawson. “It’s amazing to me and, while I have made the decision to enter retirement and instead work on my golf game, I want to thank the Jamaica Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism for all the wonderful opportunities and career they have afforded me. I have sincerely cherished it and am grateful for a lifetime of fond memories.”
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. JTB offices are also located in Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto, and London. Representative offices are located in Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Mumbai, Tokyo and Paris.
In 2021, the JTB was declared ‘World’s Leading Cruise Destination,’ ‘World’s Leading Family Destination’ and ‘World’s Leading Wedding Destination’ for the second consecutive year by the World Travel Awards, which also named it the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board’ for the 14th consecutive year; and the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Destination’ for the 16th consecutive year; as well as the ‘Caribbean’s Best Nature Destination’ and the ‘Caribbean’s Best Adventure Tourism Destination.’ In addition, Jamaica was awarded four gold 2021 Travvy Awards, including ‘Best Destination, Caribbean/Bahamas,’ ‘Best Culinary Destination –Caribbean,’ Best Travel Agent Academy Program,’; as well as a TravelAge West WAVE award for ‘International Tourism Board Providing the Best Travel Advisor Support’ for a record-setting 10th time.
In 2020, the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) named Jamaica the 2020 ‘Destination of the Year for Sustainable Tourism’. In 2019, TripAdvisor® ranked Jamaica as the #1 Caribbean Destination and #14 Best Destination in the World. Jamaica is home to some of the world’s best accommodations, attractions and service providers that continue to receive prominent global recognition.