Special visitors get royal welcome
What are the odds that a normal tourist travelling from Wisconsin in the United Stated to Negril, Jamaica, for the first time in 2017 would land on the island to much fanfare and the words "you are our four millionth visitor for 2017"?
Sheer luck or maybe coincidence some may say.
But for Jill Bell, the odds were definitely in her favour and a truly deserving accolade for her and husband, Steven Bell, as although it was their only trip to Jamaica since the year started, the couple has been to the island and to Sandals 25 times since they first visited in 1999.
"After we honeymooned at Sandals in St Lucia in 1995, we decided to visit Jamaica and vacation at the then Sandals Dunn's River four years later. We explored elsewhere and came right back in 2006, and we've been coming to Jamaica every year since then. We have even come back to the island up to four times in a single year. We enjoy Jamaica and Sandals. It is our relaxation Mecca," Jill said.
Four millionth visitor
For Jill Bell, while her husband is exploring the ocean floor with the most capable scuba instructors at Sandals Negril, she busies herself having friendly conversations with team members, lazing on the pool deck and getting baking ideas from the hotel's pastry team to try when she returns home.
When asked how they felt about being recognised by the Jamaica Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism as the country's four millionth visitor, Jill still maintained that everything felt surreal.
"I din't even know that your Government kept a record of the number of tourists coming into the island. We may joke that we have never won the lottery back home, but this was our lottery win and the added bonus was that everyone at Sandals Negril made us feel like Mr and Mrs Jamaica for the 12 days we were here!," she shared laughingly.
The couple, in addition to prizes from the Ministry of Tourism, American Airlines and a four day/three night complimentary vacation at Sandals Resorts International, also received their royal Sandals welcome, daily treats and complimentary amenities throughout their stay. Jill even joined in on the Sandals Foundation Christmas treats at local schools.