Statement of Condolence on the Death of Jamaica’s Former Director of Tourism Desmond Henry

by The Hon. Edmund Bartlett, M.P.
Minister of Tourism, Jamaica

February 4, 2008 – It was with enormous sadness that I learned of the death of Desmond Henry, who served as Jamaica’s Director of Tourism from 1978 to 1980. His loss will be felt throughout Jamaica, and indeed around the globe.

Director Henry is often referred to as a “tourism giant.” In an era impatient for change, he took on the challenging task of guiding the Jamaica Tourist Board through one of its most difficult periods. A true pioneer, he set new standards in tourism marketing, and indeed paved the way for the successful marketing of Jamaica as a total product.

Looking back, I have always found inspiration in Director Henry’s visionary approach. His capacity for instilling optimism drew colleagues close with a strong sense of team spirit, and his fierce sense of national pride was the catalyst for reshaping Jamaica’s image in the global marketplace. The programmes he designed and implemented celebrated the power of the community, bringing together residents and visitors, and overcoming age-old barriers of indifference to build a new and harmonious unity.

With brilliant initiatives like the “Discover Jamaica” and “Buy Jamaica” campaigns, Desmond Henry sparked a dramatic revision of public opinion and attitude towards the industry, which in turn generated invaluable financial investment in the sector. And with his irrepressible spirit of adventure, he launched Jamaica as a preferred destination for European travelers, opening up new markets, new frontiers.

In earlier years, as press attaché with the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, D.C., Desmond Henry honed skills that would garner tremendous respect in the highly competitive world of communications. He will be greatly missed by an extensive network of colleagues that reaches into the top echelons of advertising, public relations and marketing at a global level.

Desmond Henry’s vision and magnanimity touched many lives and many nations. He will be dearly missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to Desmond Henry’s family members, who are in my thoughts and my prayers in this time of sadness. His was a life of great achievement, and we will celebrate his generosity of spirit for years to come.