Ben Kilbey in LondonThere is a buzz in the air at Sunset Beach, located in Jamaica’s Montego Bay, as building of the new water park is running to schedule. Set to open Jan. ‘05 the park is aimed at increasing family travel to the resort. “This is absolutely essential for the family market - it will increase family arrivals to the resort. However it isn’t just for family’s - it is also aimed at adults and the more adventurous vacationer” said Carol Reid Sunsets Director - Sales and Marketing.Business is good at the Sunset Beach Resort and Spa. This autumn arrivals were up by some 12 percent on the same period in ‘03. The summer was also strong - with very little loss of business caused by the impact of Hurricane Ivan. “The only real inconvenience was having to move the dates of travel for some clients - we had very few cancellations” indicated Reid.
The water park has been designed around a pirate theme and features a children’s centre called Club Mongoose. “The park will be quite interesting - it will cater for everyone with a lazy river and some slides and will also house the wedding Gazebo.”
Looking towards the winter season things also look very buoyant for the resort with a predict occupancy of around 95 percent. At least 10 percent of this business is driven by the Internet states Carol.
“The Internet is essential for business. People are using the Internet to research their holiday before visiting their travel agent. Right now we are in the process of upgrading the site so that it is integrated with our reservation system. We hope that tour operators will use the site as well as the customer themselves (booking directly online).”
The UK accounts for roughly 18 percent of business and with ‘sufficient airlift coming out of the UK’ the market has every opportunity to grow. “The UK market is very important to us” said Carol, “Thomson has been a very successful tour operator for Sunset Montego Bay (Sunset Beach Resort).”
Sunset Beach will see the opening of two sister properties next year - Sunset at the Palms in Negril (which suffered some damage during the hurricane) opening on Jan. 15 and Sunset Jamaica Grande which will open March 19.
Talking of the new properties Tom McNamara of Group Promotions commented, “we have had a lot of interest from Virgin Holidays and Airtours for Sunset Jamaica Grande - they will be driving big business to the new property.”
“As I understand Sunset Jamaica Grande is the largest property in Jamaica - it will have excellent conference facilities and will be aimed at the meetings and incentives market as well as the family market.” It will feature 30000sqft of meeting space and the venue will be able to house anywhere from 20 - 1300 delegates. There will also be two ballrooms.
Sunset at the Palms will be the ‘little baby’ of the group with 94 rooms with some being made into suites. It will see growth with the addition of 84 treetop rooms. These will be of traditional solid wood structure - it will have a chic bohemian feel and ‘will not be competing with the big all-inclusives.’
Business to the resorts has been greatly enhanced by last weeks World Travel Market hosted at London’s Excel centre, “WTM is very important to us - it is where all of our clients meet. We come here to do business with our existing companies and also acquire new business - we renew and strengthen relationships” added Carol.
For more information on the Sunset Beach Resort visit www.sunsetbeachresort.com
For further information on how to get to Jamaica visit www.airjamaica.com
Make a note:
Sunset at the Palms will open Jan. 15
Sunset Jamaica Grande will open Mar. 19.