Excitement is building ahead of Caribbean Marketplace 2011 with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association reporting that all hotel rooms in Montego Bay have sold out ahead of this weekend’s event.
Caribbean Marketplace, organised by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, is the region’s leading travel show, and is being hosted in Jamaica for the first time since 2005.
It will also be the first event to be held at the brand new Montego Bay Convention Centre, a $45 million, 84,000 square foot, convention centre facility that aims to help Jamaica tap into the highly-lucrative global meetings and conferences market.
(Montego Bay - voted “World’s Leading Beach Destination” at 2010 World Travel Awards)
Hundreds of overseas delegates are expected to attend Caribbean Marketplace 2011, which runs between 16 and 18 January.
According to JHTA President Wayne Cummings, more than 800 of the 1,200 delegates registered to attend Caribbean Marketplace have already booked their rooms for the three-day event.
“In addition to the general occupancy as well as the rooms booked for Caribbean Marketplace, hotels are full and all but out of rooms,” Cummings told Jamaica’s Observer.
(The legendary Half Moon Montego Bay is a playground for movies stars, royalty and those that enjoy the high life)
Cummings said only some of the smaller hotels still have rooms and they have been helping out in accommodating local staff who will be working at the conference.
He added that neighbouring Ocho Rios and Negril are currently experiencing high occupancy although neither have sold out fully yet.
Caribbean Marketplace also falls within Jamaica’s peak winter holiday season, which officially began on 15 December 2010.
Early indications suggest it will be another record-breaking season for the island, which also enjoyed a bumper season last year. Poor weather in the United States has led to a flood of last-minute bookings, and this has been helped by improved airlift between the two regions.
(Jamaica picked up a host of honours at World Travel Awards 2010 Grand Final. Pictured Hon Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism; John Lynch, Director and Chairman, Jamaica Tourist Board; and Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards)
Montego Bay in particular is experiencing unprecedented popularity, and in November was voted “World’s Leading Beach Destination” at the 2010 World Travel Awards. Other winners at the prestigious gala ceremony in London included Round Hill, voted “World’s Leading Villas” and Jamaica picking up “World Leading Cruise Destination”.
Cummings said the hotels should remain solidly booked for a while due to the upcoming Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, scheduled from January 27 to 29.
“In Montego Bay, there are a couple of things scheduled back-to-back and that is a very good thing for us,” he said.
The Montego Bay Convention Centre is about a 15-minute drive from Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport and is within a few minutes of five major hotels.
It was officially opened last Friday by Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding and the Honourable Edmund Bartlett, Minister for Tourism.
To coincide with the opening of Montego Bay Convention Centre, City Mobi has launched its new mobile guide to all the best entertainment and activities to do in the area. MontegoBay.Mobi
is the latest in this illustrious line up of mobile guides, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed.
Caribbean Marketplace 2011, 16-18 January, Montego Bay Convention Centre, Montego Bay, Jamaica