Caribbean Marketplace 2011 is shaping up to be the biggest and most successful yet as delegates from as far as Australia and China congregate at the brand new Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Prime Minister of Jamica, Bruce Golding, attended the opening ceremony at the $45 million, 84,000 square foot, convention centre facility that aims to help Jamaica tap into the highly-lucrative global meetings and conferences market.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said that the arrival of almost 2,000 visitors, including nine tourism ministers, for the event sent out encouraging signals about the region’s resurgent travel and tourism economy.
He said: “We welcome just under 2,000 buyers and sellers and suppliers and tourism partners to the 2011 marketplace. The last time that Jamaica hosted marketplace was in 2006 when we literally outperformed ourselves and everyone said that was the best marketplace ever.”
Of particular encouragement is the number of buyers registered to attend – more than 120, which surpasses last year’s figures, signalling a strong rebound in the region’s travel and tourism market.
(Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding at the opening ceremony with Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism; Josef Forstmayr, President, CHTA; Alex Sanguinetti, CEO and Director General, CHTA)
The Montego Bay Convention Centre is expected to catapult Jamaica into the premier league of top players in the Meetings and Conventions Market.
(Tourism Ministers from across the region have attended Caribbean Marketplace 2011, including Allen Chastanet of St Lucia and Ricky Skerritt of St Kitts & Nevis)
Mr. Bartlett said his nation would be able to capitalise on a programme started by former US president Ronald Reagan that offers American companies the option of using meetings and conventions for tax relief.
He also thanked those who had pulled out the stops to bring Caribbean Marketplace back to Jamaica, especially those that had contributed to creating the state-of-art convention centre to such a tight deadline.
Caribbean Marketplace 2011 is the inaugural event to be hosted at the Montego Bay Convention Centre)
“I want to make special commendation to the CHTA and the team led by Alex Sanguinetti, the JHTA and the team led by Wayne Cummings, the JTB and the team lead by John Lynch. And I want to give special commendation also to Complant, the Chinese company that is responsible for the construction of the convention centre; the UDC that overall managed it, and some key people like Joan Gordon Whebly of the MSWMA, who have come in to do the landscaping and have really done themselves to make Jamaica proud on this occasion.”
The two-day event will also feature a summit to debate strategies to lobby the UK to against the recent Air Passenger Duty hikes.
Graham Cooke, President & Founder, World Travel Awards, and James Khan, Director of Sales, World Travel Awards at the new Montego Bay Convention Centre)
Jamaica goes from strength to strength
Meanwhile Jamaica is continuing to grow market share with news that visitor arrivals continue to climb. Preliminary stay-over arrivals are reported to be up by double digits for the first week of the year compared with 2010 figures. This visitor increase is particularly significant given the strength 2010 compared to 2009.
David Caldwell from Nesbit Plantations Nevis receives Hotelier of the Year award from Alec Sanguinetti, CEO and Director General, CHTA, and Josef Forstmayr, President, CHTA)
Hotels across Montego Bay are reporting full occupancy as more than 1,300 delegates descend on the tourist capital for Caribbean Marketplace which opened on Sunday evening at the new MoNevintego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall.
Montego Bay’s festive atmosphere is made more so as American vacationers – young and old – embrace Jamaica’s warmth to escape the bitter winter over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.
(Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, tours Caribbean Marketplace 2011, stopping at the Jamaican stand to meet the award-winning team)
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.
For more images from the show visit Caribbean Marketplace 2011
Caribbean Marketplace 2011, 16-18 January, Montego Bay Convention Centre, Montego Bay, Jamaica