Just Back: Jamaica Continues to Expand

Travel Agent is just back from Jamaica, where we were on location attending the 21st annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX). Typically our Caribbean editor, Joe Pike, is on hand at these industry events, but this time we sent in a pair of fresh eyes to scope out the scene.

I have been to the Caribbean all of three times, including this particular trip, so it was an exciting change of pace for me to be able to visit one of the most popular getaways for American tourists.

This year's JAPEX, held at the brand new Montego Bay Convention Center, was full of enthusiastic agents and suppliers who were passionate about Jamaica as a destination and as a product. We heard from tourism representatives from each of the top destinations in Jamaica, including Kingston, Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay, Port Antonio and more. Each presentation was a wonderful way for us, with our virgin Caribbean eyes and ears, to gain insight to this booming destination.

Jamaica is far from done expanding its tourist offerings. We were able to check out the brand new Historic Falmouth Port, a $220 million cruise destination. From the port we set sail aboard Jamaica's newest tourist attraction, Captain Hook Jamaica. The attraction is a pirate show and dinner cruise that sails for three hours around the bay. Tickets sell for $95, which includes the show, dinner and unlimited beverages. We had an absolute blast on the cruise, which offers comedy and entertainment for adults and a pirate adventure for kids.

On our way home we were able to check out Sangster International Airport's new Club Mobay, which opened in May. A similar Club Kingston opened at Norman Manley International Airport just two weeks ago. This VIP lounge offers travelers complimentary snacks and beverages, free internet, shower facilities and a spa. It is truly bringing Jamaica's travel options up to a new level of luxury. Tickets to the lounge cost $30, which is commissionable to agents. Read more about Club Mobay here.

When you have been to a destination upwards of 15 times, it can be easy to take it for granted. As someone with a fresh perspective, I can say with certainty that Jamaica has wowed this first timer and that it is still an exciting destination to sell to your clients who want an introduction to the Caribbean.

Visit www.visitjamaica.com

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