Jamaica’s strength as a destination for meetings and events is being touted during IMEX America, the largest trade show in the US for the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry.
“While all destinations across the world have experienced challenges as a result of the pandemic, we in Jamaica are deeply grateful for the success we have had and I am extremely optimistic about the future of Jamaica’s tourism industry,” said Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board, Donovan White. “Positive developments include new service from key markets by our airline partners and planned investments in our destination remaining on track, so there has never been a better time to hold meetings and events in Jamaica.”
IMEX America runs from October 11-13 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
During the event Jamaica Tourist Board Manager, Groups & Conventions, John Woolcock also gave an update on how the niche market has done post-pandemic.
“Meeting planners and attendees can feel very secure about looking to Jamaica for their upcoming events. Since reopening in June 2020, we’ve hosted multiple large-scale, prestigious industry events on island to much acclaim and with no resultant outbreaks of Covid,” he said.
Traveling to Jamaica has gotten easier with the island having removed all Covid-related entry requirements as of April 2022. In addition, air connectivity continues to be bolstered by new services. Starting in February 2023, Frontier Airlines is adding three new non-stop flights to Montego Bay from the airline’s hub in Denver, Chicago-Midway, and St Louis. This new service provides even greater connectivity to and from the west and northwest regions of the United States for Jamaica.
In terms of accommodations, approximately 8,000 new rooms are scheduled to be constructed within the next two to five years. These include a 2,000-room Princess Hotel, the 260-room Sandals Dunn’s River resort and a third RIU hotel with 700 rooms, all providing additional meeting space. Ground breaking is being planned for the 2,000-room Hard Rock Hotel along with several other properties and the renovations at Couples San Souci are on track for completion by December 2023.
In the capitol city of Kingston, a multi-billion dollar four-year redevelopment is underway at the Jamaica Conference Centre. Its lobby renovation is slated to be complete in December 2022, the first milestone in the project. Set adjacent to the Conference Centre, the 168-room ROK Hotel Kingston, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton property, opened in July 2022 featuring six meeting rooms and spacious public areas for events.
Jamaica has also been investing billions of dollars updating the country’s relevant infrastructure. Major projects planned or currently underway include the development of beach facilities, building and upgrading of piers, regeneration of heritage sites and the construction of a national highway network.
Just this past summer, Jamaica proudly served as the host destination for the International Board of Directors Meeting of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Global. These top planners in the incentive travel business from countries around the world were able to experience the island’s tourism product and high standards that were demonstrated. Praising the destination, President, SITE 2022, & Vice President, AIC Hotel Group, Kevin Edmunds, commented, “With its easy access, great infrastructure and undoubted all-round destination appeal, Jamaica is the perfect destination to deliver high levels of motivation and energy.”
As of September 30, Jamaica has reported tourism earnings of USD $5.7 billion from more than five million air stopover and cruise visitors since reopening its borders in June 2020.