Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is confident that the $51.7 million Montego Bay Conference Centre in Rose Hall, St. James will be completed in time to host Caribbean Market Place in January, 2011.
Addressing a Press Conference at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, Thursday (October 14) after a tour of the Convention Centre, Mr. Bartlett announced that Marketplace 2011 will be the first event to be held at the facility, which is at an advanced stage of construction.
“It is no secret that we are excited about our foray into the events market with Marketplace 2011, a more ideal first event we could not have asked for. For Marketplace is the premier tourism marketing event of the Caribbean region, showcasing the best of the Caribbean and, dare I say, where better to preview the largest convention centre of the Caribbean region,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He pointed out that the Convention Centre was an important addition to Jamaica’s tourism product, especially when other Caribbean territories are developing their events market while Jamaica’s meeting space capacity remains limited.
A section of the Montego Bay Convention Centre which is in an advanced stage of construction. The facility is expected to be completed in time to host the Caribbean Marketplace 2011, slated for January 2011.
“This strategic move to position Jamaica in the events market comes at a time when global travel is picking up, our major source markets are rebounding from the recession and we anticipate the meetings market will now be looking for competitive destinations,” he said.
The International Congress and Conventions Association has indicated that some 400,000 conventions and exhibitions are organised worldwide, annually, at an outlay of US$280 billion. Jamaica will be in the running to capture a part of that lucrative market. The country will have greater access to meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, or the MICE industry, which will substantially expand its tourism sector, as well as the Caribbean’s, he pointed out.
He added that for Jamaica to host Marketplace 2011, while showcasing the Convention Centre, was a tourism destination’s ‘dream combination’.
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Wayne Cummings, said that the association was looking forward to the landmark tourism event, in January.
“It was very good for us all to see the (progress) of the Convention Centre. I think that it has come a very long way, and this is an opportunity for us to speak about the hosting of Caribbean Marketplace (with greater enthusiasm),” Mr. Cummings said.