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Friday,  July 19, 2024 5:02 PM 

“We are truly grateful to him”: JTB pays tribute to Donnie Dawson as he retires

“We are truly grateful to him”: JTB pays tribute to Donnie Dawson as he retires
From left (of the JTB): Donnie Dawson, deputy director of tourism, Americas; Angella Bennett, regional director, Canada. Photographed in 2021 at Moon Palace Jamaica. (File photo/Pax Global Media)
Pax Global Media

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is bidding a warm and grateful 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, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism. “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 rejoined 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.

Donnie Dawson was known as “Mr. Airlift” for his work with airlines in providing service to Jamaica. (Supplied/JTB)

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.

Angella Bennett, the JTB's regional director for Canada, noted how Donnie has had a "long and proud career as a passionate ambassador for Destination Jamaica." 

"As the Board’s Deputy Director of Tourism, Donnie has always been a vocal advocate for the travel advisor community — particularly in Canada — and he made great efforts to provide ongoing support for the hardworking agents who help drive Jamaica’s tourism sector," Bennett said in a statement to PAX. "Donnie will be truly missed by all of his colleagues at the JTB in Canada and throughout the travel industry." 

From left (of the JTB): Angella Bennett, regional director, Canada; Donnie Dawson, deputy director of tourism, Americas. (Supplied)

Donovan White, director of tourism at the JTB, said the team is "truly saddened" to see Donnie go. 

"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,” White said in a statement.  “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!”

Take care, Mr. Airlift

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.

The Jamaica Tourist Board Canada team with Donnie Dawson (centre). (Supplied)

“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 Dawson in a statement. “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.”

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