30 years of tourism growth in Jamaica with more to come as 28th annual JAPEX wraps up

30 years of tourism growth in Jamaica with more to come as JAPEX wraps up

MONTEGO BAY — Updating retail and supplier delegates at the 28th annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) this week at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says a total of 7,560 new rooms are in the pipeline for Jamaica from now until 2020.

Travel agents, wholesalers and tour operators from Canada and around the world were among the 250 supplier delegates and 200 buyer delegates taking part in this year’s JAPEX. Jamaica saw overall market growth of 5.4% for the first six months of the year.

Bartlett shared several updates at the conference, not just about the 7,560 new rooms but also the 1.3 million airplane seats coming into the island for the upcoming winter season, including some 42,400 more seats from Canada, 38,000 more seats from the U.S., 12,000 more seats from Continental Europe and 7,455 more seats from the UK/Northern Europe for the high season.

“Tourism is the only industry in Jamaica that has grown consistently for the past 30 years and it is on track to become the largest contributor to the GDP of our country,” said Minister Bartlett. “As we set our ambitions high for creating new partnerships, we’re simultaneously strengthening our ability to ensure Jamaica can safely, securely and seamlessly connect visitors to their passion point quicker.”

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.

Here’s a look at some of the new and coming resort projects:

  • Excellence Oyster Bay in Montego Bay opened its first property in June with 325 rooms
  • SkylarkNegril Beach Resort, sister property to Rockhouse Hotel, opened in July. The beachfront property is located on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach.
  • 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
  • WyndhamKingston with 454 rooms and Marriott QC (Sandals International) with 220 rooms are scheduled to be completed by 2019

In other news, 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. 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.

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