“Canada is now back with a bang,” he said at a media breakfast held during the Jamaica Product Exchange in Montego Bay this week.
Presented by The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and the Jamaica Tourist Board, JAPEX is the most important business generator for Jamaica’s tourism industry.
Featuring 197 delegates, 91 companies and 69 representatives, this year’s show included nightly entertainment by the likes of Wayne Marshall and Beenie Man in addition to providing tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents the opportunity to connect with Jamaica’s top suppliers during two days of networking and business meetings at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
“Last year was the most important growth year in the history of tourism in Jamaica,” said Bartlett. “In a single year we increased arrivals by 500,000. But we didn’t just stop with arrivals, we increased our earnings by $US500,000 million, a record for any English-speaking country in this area.”
By 2021, Jamaica’s room inventory is poised to increase by 7,500 additional rooms, including a new Hard Rock hotel and an expansion at Half Moon resort.
Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Playa Hotels & Resorts said plans are also in the works to bring the company’s Panama Jack brand to Jamaica.
“We keep finding new ways to expand,” he told PressToday. “This is a country we’re totally committed to. It has everything we need.”
Pictured at the opening ceremonies for JAPEX 2018 are (l-r) Jamaica’s director of tourism Donovan White, Iberostar’s Kimberly Raynor and Luis Velez, and Philip Rose, regional director, Canada, the Jamaica Tourist Board. Middle: Jamaica’s minister of tourism Edmund Bartlett and Playa Hotels & Resorts Kevin Froemming. Bottom: Beenie Man performs at Sandals Montego Bay.