Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett has expressed deep regret at the passing of tourism and transportation pioneer, Ralph Smith.
“I was very saddened to learn about the passing of Ralph Smith. We will never forget his kindness and invaluable contributions. On behalf of the Government of Jamaica, I offer my sincere condolences to the entire Smith family. I pray that the love of those around you will provide some comfort and support during this period of grief,” said Minister Bartlett.
Smith is considered by many in the industry as a pioneer of modern ground transportation. He founded Tropical Tours, which is one of the largest transportation companies in the island’s tourism sector, more than 45 years ago.
He is also credited for introducing several leading international tour operators to the island such as First Choice/ TUI, Hotel Plan, Maxi Tours and Maxi Coverage Company Sun Wing.
“Mr. Smith was a brilliant businessman. His passion for tourism and the transportation industry is truly unmatched. I am certain his legacy will live on for years to come. I pray that his soul will be at peace with our Heavenly Father,” said Mr. Bartlett.
For his contribution to the development of tourism in Jamaica, he was in 2005 bestowed the Order of Distinction. He is also a Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Lifetime Achievement awardee and his company, Tropical Tours, has received a number of awards from the JHTA over the years.
Smith is a former member of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and a past president of the Jamaica Association of Tour Operators (JATO).