Mr. Bartlett, who was speaking at the official opening of the company’s Sangster International Airport depot in Montego Bay on Tuesday , said the ease of access to Jamaica’s interior regions anticipated from the 11-year-old company’s endeavour would open up new areas and destinations, thereby enabling residents to partake of the potential benefits to be derived.
The Minster said this would encourage broadening of the tourism ownership structure by affording persons in remote rural areas the same access to visitors as is enjoyed by their counterparts in more popular and well-known locations.
“When Knutsford Express started operating in 2006, it heralded a new day for ground transportation in Jamaica with the provision of a comfortable hassle-free coach service from Kingston to Montego Bay. It is (now) providing access into places where people never thought that tourists wanted to go,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett welcomed the opening of Knutsford Express’ Sangster Airport depot as well as the collaboration between the Ministry and company.
He noted that the forging of stronger alliances with strategic partners like Knutsford Express is “critical to driving growth within the industry” and consistent with the five pillars of tourism growth.
“We see this partnership as an opportunity to create positive travel experiences for visitors to our island (and) expose them to our rich culture (and) beautiful resort areas as well as to showcase our warm Jamaican hospitality, for which we are known the world over,” the Minister stated.
Mr. Bartlett further said that the partnership between Airbnb and Knutsford Express “is a natural”, adding that “I can see it growing as we drive the new demographic – the millennials (who are) interested in exploring and finding new places and meeting new people and new friends (which) gives us an opportunity to build a destination that is safe, secure and seamless”.
Mr. Bartlett emphasised that transport was both an essential element and inherent part of tourism, connecting visitors with resorts, attractions, accommodation and commercial services across destinations.
Against this background, he said it will be undoubtedly pivotal in enabling the millennial demographic with access to the various attractions and the experiences across Jamaica.
Mr. Bartlett said Knutsford Express’ establishment was a “simple idea” that has had a huge impact, adding that it has “revolutionised the way locals and visitors traversed the island both for business and pleasure”.
In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer, Oliver Townsend, said the new depot was part of the company’s plan to create a multimodal transit hub similar to those in other major global destinations.
He said it is expected that stakeholders in Jamaica’s smaller resort towns will be able to capitalise on the affordability, frequency, safety and comfort offered by Knutsford resulting in significant increases in business.
“We now have a situation where returning Jamaicans and tourists will be able to connect with our scheduled service across the island directly from the airport; we believe that the terminal is going to expand the market. Based on the feedback we (are getting) from overseas companies which are in the business of developing travel plans or sending relatives to Jamaica, this will mean a lot to them,” he added.
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