Montego Bay – Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeil, says Jamaica is the perfect destination for weddings and should maximise its potential income from this market.
The Minister was speaking at the official opening of Montego Bay’s first "Jamaica Bridal Expo", at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in Rose Hall, St. James on Saturday October 13, 2012.
The event, which runs over two days, is being staged by private interests, with the backing of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and has approximately 80 exhibitors participating. The expo is being seen by industry players as a move which can assist Jamaica to move up the rankings as a preferred destinations for staging weddings.
Following the ribbon cutting exercise, Minister McNeil told the audience there is a strong market available internationally for weddings and Jamaica was a "perfect destination". He noted however, that as a tourist destination, we have not maximized our potential income from that market.
"I think going forward, having seen the success of what we have here, we have to see how we are going to use an event like this and build on it," Dr. McNeil stated.
He suggested that for the next staging, some amount of promotion should be done overseas within bridal magazines and other media, with a view to build on the intake from the market.
He congratulated the planners of the Jamaica Bridal Expo event, for what he described as a tremendous job well done, noting that he was looking forward, "to us having an event like this, every year for years to come, because I think it will be an important part of us expanding what we offer in Jamaica as destination weddings".
In the meantime, Managing Director of Jamaica Bridal Expo, Peter Shoucair, told JIS News, that the staging of weddings is a multi-billion dollar industry around the world, and Jamaica is tapping into the tourism aspect of that market but has a far way to go.
"We decided that our bridal expo would be great for both local and destination (weddings). Not just for local brides but overseas brides as well, and it also benefits the entire (tourism) industry, from service providers, to decorators, to venues, hotels, people looking to get married or getting married," he stated.
Mr. Shoucair added that the name, "Jamaica Bridal Expo", will be used to market both the event and Jamaica as a destination, and that some 250 travel agents were booked to visit the expo on the second day (Sunday October 14).
Meanwhile, a message from Director of Tourism, John Lynch, in the Jamaica Bridal Expo souvenir magazine, noted that the weddings and honeymoon market is an integral part of the tourism industry, with many local hotels and allied partners achieving success primarily because of the superb product and services they offer to their wedding and honeymoon clients. He added that many businesses have even won international awards for their efforts in this area.