Travel Agent is on site in Montego Bay this week for the 21st annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX). We spoke with Jason Hall, deputy director of tourism, who brought us up to speed on the Jamaica Tourist Board's upcoming developments. This year's JAPEX event is being held in the Montego Bay Convention Center, which opened in January, 75 percent complete. At that time the meeting rooms and landscaping had yet to be completed. However, today the Convention Center is 100 percent complete and open.
According to Hall, the JTB is working hard to bring in business from both the Latin American and Chinese markets. Currently JTB is in discussion with Copa Airlines finalizing agreements to run flights from Jamaica through Panama, which will open up the entire Latin American market. Hall tells us that plans should hopefully be put in place by the end of this year.
JTB is also in a dialogue with China working on investment opportunities to bring that market to Jamaica. Again, it is a question of finding suitable airlift to link the two destinations. But Hall tells us the JTB remains hopeful because the Chinese are familiar with what Jamaica has to offer. "There is a lot of brand recognition now among the Chinese, and we have built momentum since the Olympics," Hall says.