Jamaica's Montego Bay Convention Centre Officially Opens

The new Montego Bay Convention Centre on Friday was officially declared open by Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding. The facility is meant to give Jamaica a piece of the estimated $280 billion worldwide conventions and exhibitions market. The soft opening comes ahead of Caribbean Marketplace 2011, the first event scheduled to take place at the newly built facility, set for January 16 through 18.

The center, located in Montego Bay, is an important addition to the island nation's tourism industry, according to Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica's minister of tourism.

A number of government and tourism officials were in attendance. Among them Opposition Spokesman on Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeil; Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang; Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Wayne Chen; Director of Tourism, John Lynch; Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, Carrole Guntley; President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Wayne Cummings and Josef Forstmayr, President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

The Montego Bay Convention Centre will provide more than 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than 20,000 square feet of banquet facility and more than 11,000 square feet of meeting space. Major work is scheduled for completion by the end of January.

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