Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jamaica Rocks at JAPEX 2012

Melanie Reffes
Ocho Rios
October 2012

Organized by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) with support from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Product Exchange, known as JAPEX, was a smashing success at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios

Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort ( credit: Sunset Resorts ) 

More than one hundred tour operators from both traditional and emerging markets including Brazil, Argentina and Chile attended along with two hundred travel agents from Canada and the United States and 116 buyers including one of the largest delegations of overseas buyers in years.

(credit: G. Myers) 

(credit: M. Reffes ) 

(Credit: M. Reffes ) 

“ It is of importance to the travel trade that Brand Jamaica remains strong, “said Dr. Wykeham McNeill , minister tourism and entertainment, “   I can assure you it goes from strength to strength with the most recent shot of adrenalin  delivered at the London Olympics, where some may have said Jamaica won the Olympics.”

Dr. Wykeham McNeill, minister of tourism and entertainment ( credit: M. Reffes) 

Now in its 22nd year, Jamaica’s signature marketing event is the ideal forum for tourism suppliers to meet, greet, network and negotiate with wholesalers and operators from across the globe.  “JAPEX play a critical role in keeping Brand Jamaica in the forefront and in securing the country’s top position in the travel market,” said John Lynch, director, tourism, JTB,  "in our competitive landscape, the opportunity to focus the attention of the travel trade exclusively on Jamaica is invaluable. “

More than one hundred million US dollars was generated from last year’s show with organizers this year anticipating bigger success.  “JAPEX offers the opportunity to reaffirm existing partnerships and establish new ones;” noted Evelyn Smith, president, JHTA, “as our country celebrates fifty years of Independence, this event takes on added significance and is not to be missed by any entity involved in Jamaica's tourism.”
Looking forward, the winter landscape may be as sunny for business as it is for tourism. “Jamaica's tourism infrastructure continues to support and encourage investment and promote development, “said Dr. Wykeham McNeill , minister tourism, “with the summer season now behind us and the winter tourist season fast approaching I am pleased to report that the sector continues to grow despite the harsh economic conditions."

Boston Bay ( credit: JTB) 

View from the Hope Estate ( Credit: M. Reffes
Island Buzz

Stopover arrivals between January and August showed an increase of 2.4 per cent over the same period last year while cruise arrivals for the same period showed an increase of 33.9 per cent. “Clearly, there is a healthy demand for the destination and I am pleased to say that Jamaica has in place adequate airlift to enable us to achieve our performance targets, thereby placing the destination in a very comfortable position to achieve further growth this year, “added Dr. Wykeham McNeill, minister tourism.

Brand new at Chukka, couples are invited to say ‘I Do ‘at any of their tour locales. “We are putting a big push on weddings, “ said Danny Melville, director marketing , “ we’ve launched a Horseback Ride at Sunset with Champagne tour which is popular with couples,  we’ve organized gown and tux weddings on horseback and have had grooms propose while up in one of our zip line canopy tours. “

Danny Melville, director of marketing, CHUKKA ( credit: M. Reffes )  
CHUKKA Horseback Riding Tour ( credit: CHUKKA ) 

Up Up & Away
An additional 7,200 air-seats for the winter season include new nonstop daily service from New York JFK to Montego Bay on Delta, starting December 15 and JetBlue will fly twice daily between Fort Lauderdale and Kingston. Also, US Airways will add a fourth flight for the winter season from Charlotte, providing daily service. Brand new and beginning in December, service from Prague, Czech Republic to Montego Bay will continue through April 2013.

Heads on Beds

A total of 2,000 new rooms will be added to the island inventory including a 130-room
 ‘Courtyard by Marriott in Kingston, 70 new rooms at Bahia Principe, 850 new rooms built by the Fiesta Group of hotels and in Mahoe Bay in MoBay, RIU will add  a RIU Palace with 232 rooms bringing their total to five properties on the island .

RIU Montego Bay (credit: M. Reffes ) 

 A division of Toronto-based Sunwing Travel Group, Blue Diamond Hotels purchased the former Breezes Trelawny. Slated to reopen later this year as the Memories White Sands Beach Resort & Spa, the 349-room property was formerly owned by SuperClubs. Additions will include a brand new themed water park adjacent to the hotel.  

Another former SuperClubs resort also changed hands with Aimbridge Hospitality, having done so well with the adults-only Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort in Ocho Rios, doubling their presence with the re-branding of the all-inclusive Jewel Runaway Bay Beach Resort, previously the Breezes Runaway Bay Beach Resort. The all-inclusive 266-room resort is tucked away on the north coast and offers balconies in each room and Wi-Fi access.  “We have a negotiated rate with the taxi association for $10 round trip per person for transportation between resorts,” said Michele Olivier, regional vice president of sales and marketing, “this way our guests have the opportunity to experience the different restaurants, beach, atmosphere and nightlife that make the properties unique.
Jewel Dunn's River Butler Suite ( credit: Aimbridge ) 
For foodies with a yen for good sushi, Kenko is open at The Holiday Inn SunSpree in Montego Bay. Upstairs in the resort’s main building, the Japanese eatery offers an innovative menu of teppanyaki and sushi along with tempting desserts like cheesecake infused with lemongrass and baked green tea extract egg custard.
Holiday Inn SunSpree ( credit: SunSpree resorts ) 
The Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios is wooing couples with the “Celebration of Love 2012” valid for travel through December 14. The uber-romantic package includes accommodations in a chi-chi verandah suite, chilled champagne upon arrival, breakfast for two, candlelight dinner on the beach, Couples Sunset Massage at the KiYara Ocean Spa and two VIP passes to Club Mobay at the airport.
KiYara Spa ( credit: Jamaica INN ) 
The only dolphin attraction in Jamaica and the islands most visited marine attraction, Dolphin Cove at Treasure Reef is an interactive meet, meet and swim with Bottle Nose dolphins, sharks and sting rays. And for grown-ups in the mood for romance, Dolphin Cove in Negril entices with weddings where the gentle mammals hold the rings in their mouths while awestruck couples exchange vows. Tourists who book a Dolphin Encounter or Swim program by December 15 will pay rates starting at USD$67. 00.

Dolphin Cove ( credit: M . Reffes ) 
In Montego Bay, .Half Moon, A RockResort’s “Summer Break” package encourages guests to extend their summer fun by booking a four-night stay in a seven-rom villa .Guests receive a $150 .00 resort credit per room as well as the fourth night free.  Valid through December 20 with  rates starting  at $269 per room, per night,

Bottoms Up

Sandals Resorts   is toasting a renewed partnership with Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum which will be poured at all seventeen Sandals  and Beaches  throughout the Caribbean.  “Sandals and Appleton Rum are two of the most well-known and successful brands ever to emerge from the region, “said Adam Stewart, CEO , Sandals, “I’m delighted that we are able to join forces to offer the best of the Caribbean at our resorts.”  
The Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum is the island’s leading premium rum and sold in sixty countries around the world.  “It is very fitting that in our 50th year of independence, two of Jamaica’s most iconic brands are once again partnering to raise the bar and provide guests of Sandals and Beaches with an exceptional drinking experience,” said Paul Henriques, managing director, J. Wray & Nephew Limited, producers of Appleton.

Sandals Royal Plantation ( credit: M. Reffes ) 
Make a Date
Presented by NIKE, Invitational Pro-Am Annie’s Revenge golf tournament will be played from November 14 to 18 at the Cinnamon Hill and White Witch courses in Montego Bay. “The tournament gets better every year, “said John McLean, director sales, NIKE Golf, “the feedback we hear is that more and more amateurs want to get involved which gives us an even better opportunity to showcase our brand to a growing audience of active and engaged golfers.”

White Witch  Golf Course ( credit: JTB) 

 Reggae Marathon in Negril will attract one thousand runners at the start line on December 1st.   
(credit: Karen Fuchs)  
Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival rocks the house from January 24 – 26.
Canadian superstar Celine Dion performed at JJ & Blues 2011 (credit: SONY)
 Even if you can’t tell the difference between your kishkas and your chakras, the Caribbean Yoga conference promises to be a mellow start to the New Year. The weekend-long event at the Hilton Rose Hall, from January 31 to February 3, includes classes and workshops for grown-ups and kids alike.
Hilton Rose Hall ( credit: Hilton Resorts )  
It’s nirvana for mountain bikers at Jamaica’s annual Fat Tyre Festival held every February. The week-long bicycle bash invites cyclists to pedal around the island with stops in Ocho Rios, St. Mary and the Blue Mountains high above Kingston. Professional guides are on hand for advice and encouragement while the after-cycle parties are the talk of the island.
SNAPSHOTS from JAPEX 2012  (credit: M. Reffes ) 

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