Jamaica leads Caribbean tourism rebound

Jamaica’s role in spearheading the recovery of the Caribbean’s travel and tourism economy is to be acknowledged by World Travel Awards at a VIP ceremony in Montego Bay in October.

The awards programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ by the global media, noted that Jamaica’s growth in visitor arrivals this year is expected to beat 2010’s impressive five percent rise, and comes despite the on-going austerity challenges of key source markets in Europe and North America.

The ceremony, which takes place at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island on October 7th 2011, is set to attract the top decision-makers and thought leaders from across the Americas and Caribbean as they compete for the most influential accolades in travel.

After months of intense voting, featuring more than 2,000 organisations, the nominees have been whittled down to the elite few.

Categories to watch include “Caribbean’s Leading Destination” with Aruba, Barbados, Bahamas, Jamaica, St Lucia and Turks & Caicos among those competing for top honours.

Meanwhile “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel” sees stiff competition between such iconic properties as Half Moon, A RockResort (Jamaica), Jumby Bay (Antigua), Parrot Cay (Turks & Caicos) and Sandy Lane (Barbados).

Rivalry on a country level is also intense, notably in the race for the tile of “Jamaica’s Leading Resort”, which sees Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club, Couples Negril, Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort and The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, all going head-to head.

Graham Cooke, president, World Travel Awards, underlined Jamaica’s ability to come good in adversity.

He said: “Jamaica has proven one of the tourism stars of the global downturn because of its boundless appetite for reinvention – a spirit exemplified by our event host, Sandals Resorts. We are honoured that our ceremony forms part of this iconic brand’s 30th anniversary celebrations.”

“The Caribbean is also capitalising on the tremendous opportunities afforded by BRIC nations, especially with traditional source markets stuttering. However to unlock this potential, accompanying governmental support remains vital, including the easing of restrictions that currently limit intra-Caribbean travel,” he added.

Sandals Royal Caribbean will host the event in October this year

John Lynch, Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, in commenting on Jamaica’s performance said: “In the midst of the global economic challenges, Jamaica’s growth in 2010 is remarkable.

“We are fortunate to have an unrivalled tourism product offering diverse vacation experiences to the most discerning traveller and this is complimented by a high touch quality service which makes our visitors want to return.

“Hosting WTA’s Caribbean and The Americas Ceremony will allow us to showcase that we offer an authentic experience which provides value for money.”

Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts, is pleased to once again support Jamaica on the world stage by hosting this year’s World Travel Awards Americas Gala ceremony.

He said: “At Sandals Resorts, we come from the region, we understand the communities, we understand the quality of the beaches and we understand the services and standards that the customer now demands.”

“As we celebrate 30 years of providing luxury vacations that exceed expectations, I can say that we are delighted to showcase those services and amenities to the travel industry once again this year.” 

The Caribbean & The Americas Ceremony marks the fifth and final leg of World Travel Awards 2011 Grand Tour, and will follow heats in Dubai, UAE; Antalya, Turkey; Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt; and Bangkok, Thailand. Regional winners from these events then progress to the Grand Final in Doha, Qatar in November.

The event partners are Sandals Resorts and WeClickMedia, while media partners include National Geographic Traveller, eTurboNews, Focus on Travel News, Breaking Travel News, JaxFax and Travel Daily News.

For more info about World Travel Awards 2011 Caribbean & the Americas Ceremony & bookings visit the official website.