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  • Jamaica is on course for a strong winter season with bookings for the period “pacing well ahead of last year”.
  • Arrivals are up 2.8 per cent for the summer, showing a reversal in the losses experienced at the start of the year.
  • Jamaica has been experiencing both new and transition of ownership in the hotel sector.

Jamaica is on course for a strong winter season with bookings for the period “pacing well ahead of last year” said Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill.

He was addressing a press conference on the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2014 on December 3, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

The Minister said despite close to 2,000 rooms being out of commission, arrivals are up 2.8 per cent for the summer, showing a reversal in the losses experienced at the start of the year.

He noted that Jamaica has been experiencing both new and transition of ownership in the hotel sector, pointing to the signing of an agreement last month with Melia Hotels international, one of the largest hotel chains in the world. Under the agreement, the Spanish chain is to operate the Braco Hotel in Trelawny for the next 15 years.

He informed also, that the Royalton White Sands property in Trelawny is to come on stream with 350 refurbished rooms, while the RIU will be opening its new, upscale Palace property, with 238 rooms, later this week.

Meanwhile, Minister McNeill said he is confident that the CHTA, in partnership with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), would stage a successful and productive Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

Dr. McNeill said destination Jamaica had grown considerably since the event was last staged here in 2011, in terms of hotel rooms, with the new world class local and foreign brands; and also in relation to attractions.
“What this means is that Jamaica has so much more to offer Caribbean Travel Marketplace this time around…most importantly, the event will serve as a platform to showcase our enhanced tourism product,” he stated.

Chairman of the CHTA, Josef Forstmayr, informed that 26 Caribbean countries have already confirmed participation in Caribbean Travel Marketplace, while 330 buyer delegates are already registered from North America, Europe, and Latin America. A total of 1,200 delegates are expected.

He said that there should be some 3,500 room nights from the event, generating some US$630,000 in hotel room charges, and US$56,700 in taxes.  “We do believe that Jamaica as a destination will benefit greatly,” he stated.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace is the largest and most business-to-business marketing event for the Caribbean hospitality industry.

To be held from January 12 to 14 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, it will bring together suppliers, such as hotels, restaurants, attractions and transport companies, with buyers such as tour operators, and wholesalers, in pre-scheduled business appointment.

Some 325 of the world’s largest tour operators will participate in the conference, which will also see coverage from 30 international journalists from the Caribbean, United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, resulting in features in trade and consumer magazines in these countries.