amaica and Kenya have agreed to collaborate in the area of tourism in a bid to strengthen the hospitality sectors in both countries. Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has revealed that the partnership between both countries will entail collaboration between the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Kenya.
The agreement came out of talks yesterday (August 31) between Minister Bartlett and Chief Executive Officer of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nana Gecaga. The centre is owned by the government of Kenya. Ms Gecaga who is niece to Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, is also a well-known businesswoman and works primarily in international marketing and tourism.
With both countries having a keen interest in MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism, the high-level talks were conveniently held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, a public body of the Ministry of Tourism. Mr Bartlett said one of the key points in the talks was intended to be “a movement when we begin to codify, if not solidify the connection between the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.”
Underscoring the importance of making the connection, he said: “We are the location in the Caribbean for big meetings, exhibitions and incentive activities, as Kenya is in Eastern Africa, so we think that synergy exists and that collaboration will inure to the benefit of all.”
Ms Gecaga sees the twinning of the two convention centres as a tangible step in achieving that objective.
“I think definitely there’s a lot of synergies that can take place,” she said and pointed to the need for Jamaica to be part of an association that would pave the way for it hosting major award ceremonies and other events. She said this would allow for a partnership in which Kenya bids for a major convention with a key factor being the ability to offer Montego Bay as a rotating host.
Among other proposals, she identified were, having an exchange programme and being proactive in creating events.
Having been to Jamaica previously, she lauded the country’s hospitality as “outstanding” and admitted that: “When leaving to head back to the States, I remember crying! It’s the only place that I’ve cried when I left.”