Above: New Jamaica Tourist Board Director Paul Pennicook
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica has a new Director of Tourism, industry veteran Paul Pennicook.
Pennicook, who had been serving as chairman of Jamaica Vacations, succeeds John Lynch, a decades-long regional tourism stalwart, as the director of the Jamaica Tourist Board.
“I’m thrilled and honored to return to service at the Jamaica Tourist Board,” Pennicook said in a statement. “In the last few years, I have gained invaluable experience in the international industry and this will be brought to bear while working on the front lines of Jamaica’s multi-layered hospitality industry.”
Jamaica Vacations Limited, an agency of Jamaica’s Tourism Ministry, focuses on improving airlift capacity to Jamaica.
“Paul Pennicook is a solid choice to lead the Jamaica Tourist Board’s future,” said JTB Chairman Dennis Morrison in a release. “Paul was selected for his highly accomplished, well-rounded experience as a hotelier, an airline executive and tourism director. He will hit the ground running building on the JTB’s current momentum, thus propelling Jamaica’s success to the next level.”
Lynch demitted office at the end of May.
It will be the second tour of duty in the role for Pennicook, who was first named the country’s Director of Tourism in March 2003, serving for three years. He then served as Air Jamaica’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing until 2008.
Pennicook, a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, has served in posts across the regional tourism industry including as president and CEO of Couples Resorts.
He had previously served as general manager at the Couples in Ocho Rios, as senior vice president of sales and marketing for SuperClubs and as executive vice president of Unique Vacations, the marketing arm for Sandals Resorts.
“I am very satisfied with the decision of the Jamaica Tourist Board,” said Jamaica Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill. “Mr Pennicook is a well known figure in Jamaica’s tourism industry and is highly respected at home and abroad. As we meet the challenges of modernizing the operations of the Board and deepening the partnerships with industry players, I am confident that the JTB has found the right man for the job.”
Pennicook assumes the stewardship of a national tourism industry that posted a record number of visitors last year, with a total of more than 2 million stopover visitors.
“Jamaica has always been at the forefront of Caribbean tourism and I look forward to continuing in that tradition,” Pennicook said.