On the heels of Jamaica celebrating an overall market growth of 5.4 percent for the first six months of the year, the destination hosted the 28th annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX). Held over two days at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, wholesalers, tour operators and travel agents were among 250 supplier delegates and 200 buyer delegates from the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, shared several updates. A total of 7,560 rooms are in the pipeline from now until 2020 and beginning in October, Nordwind Flights will launch service from Moscow to Jamaica. Additionally, the destination will see 1.3 million airplane seats for the upcoming winter season, including approximately 38,000 more seats from the United States, 42,400 more seats from Canada, 12,000 more seats from Continental Europe and 7,455 more seats from the United Kingdom/Northern Europe for the high season.
“Tourism is the only industry in Jamaica that has grown consistently for the past thirty years and it is on track to become the largest contributor to the GDP of our country,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Tourism Minister also announced that as commitments from new markets such as Japan, China, Eastern Europe and Latin America are being brokered, there are planned infrastructure improvements at both Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport and Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. A new highway is set to begin construction by the first quarter of 2019 which will connect Kingston to Port Antonio. These developments will enhance the destination’s capacity to welcome new visitors.
Below is a roundup of new developments in the sector:
- Excellence Oyster Bay in Montego Bay opened its first property in June. With 325 rooms on-site, this adults-only property has all-suite accommodations, upscale restaurants and bars, and a spa.
- Skylark Negril Beach Resort, sister property to Rockhouse Hotel, opened in July. This beachfront property is situated on Negril’s famous white sand Seven Mile Beach offering views of the Caribbean Sea. It is home to the first Jamaican outpost of Miss Lily’s restaurant in New York City.
- The S Hotel Montego Bay is scheduled to be completed in January 2019 with 124 rooms, offering views of Doctors Cave Beach, plush beds and spa-like bathrooms with roman tubs.
- Wyndham Kingston with 454 rooms and Marriot QC (Sandals International) with 220 rooms are scheduled to be completed by 2019.
- Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience opened last year after Wray & Nephew completed a US$7.2 million investment project. The facility is now able to double its capacity to host visitors to the famed attraction and boost employment. New additions include modern rooms to facilitate rum tastings, an expansive retail store, and a restaurant and lounge offering “Appleton-infused” Jamaican cuisine. The centrepiece of the restaurant is an “authentic” Jamaican jerk pit.
- Island Lux Beach Park in Negril is situated on 5.5 acres of prime land in Longbay, Negril and features Little Ochie Seafood, Pimentoz Jerk, Ital Island Restaurant and the famous Devon House ice-cream.