MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – It was a bold move when the Jamaica Tourist Board announced earlier this year that it will host Caribbean Marketplace 2011 at the Montego Bay Conference Centre, which only broke ground in mid-March of last year.
Proclaiming to have what is expected to be the largest conference center in all of the Caribbean ready in under two years was a bold move, but after a recent visit to the site, Travel Agent can vouch that the JTB’s claim appears to be accurate.
Although we were first doubtful when we saw the exterior, which was basically mounds of dirt and a few scattered ditches, we were convinced the facility would be ready when we stepped inside and found everything from finished marble floors to hand-designed pillars throughout every room in this facility.
The building, in fact, is about 70-80-percent completed with only trees and other landscaping needed to be complete. The center 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.
And what better time to unveil it than that at one of the Caribbean’s most important trade shows, ‘Caribbean Marketplace 2011,’ a three-day event, organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). It will be held from January 16 -18.
“Caribbean Marketplace is often called the Caribbean’s most important trade show and any destination that hosts it usually benefits greatly from it,” says JTB Director of Tourism John Lynch. “So, we are really excited to show off the convention center during this time.”
The center will open by December 15, but there will still be some minor work that will need to be completed. It is expected to be fully operational by January 31. The facility is on land opposite the Shoppes at Rose Hall (between the Half Moon Golf Course and Rose Hall Great House) and is aimed at strengthening Jamaica’s participation in the growing groups and convention market.
“We don’t just think this will be the best conference center in the Caribbean, we think this will be the best conference center in the world,” Allan Gotting, consultant for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, told Travel Agent. “And we think people will agree when they see it with their own eyes.”