Jamaica A Hot Topic On A Cold Night In YOW

With Peter Johansen

Marissa Rodrigues, The Travel Agent Next Door, reviews Jamaica offerings with Veronica Di Ruocco, Air Canada Vacations.

Audrey Knight and Cyndy Genest of Expedia Cruise Ship Centers, Orleans

Bahia Principe’s Quebec sales rep Jill Elmslie is all smiles as she flashes her latest sales material.

Blue Diamond Resorts sales executive Andre Hudson, with Ana Tremblay of Algonquin Travel and Cruise Centre.

Jamaica proved to be a hot topic on a cold night in Ottawa as its product showcase rolled into the nation’s capital Monday as part of a cross-country tour. More than a hundred area travel agents braved the damp weather to meet with Jamaica Tourism and its partners for one-on-one chats followed by a delicious three-course dinner.

Louise Paquette, Eastern Canada rep for the Jamaica Tourist Board, reminded folks that “Feel the Vibe” is this year’s marketing theme.  If travellers are looking to Jamaica just for beaches, she said, “they’ll miss out on mountains, rivers, culture, history, food and so much more.” Even music is more than reggae, with festivals devoted to everything from jazz to gospel, and Ital cooking, popular in the Rastafarian movement, is becoming popular with visitors.

Among new developments she pinpointed were:

  • Completion of a highway linking Kingston and Ocho Rios;
  • Increasing popularity of long-stay apartment rentals;
  • Recent opening of the 350 room all-suite Excellence Oyster Bay in Falmouth and the reopening last week of the fully refreshed RIU Palace Tropical Bay in Negril; and
  • The $12.5 million redevelopment of the former Breezes property in Montego Bay, to open in December as The Spanish Court, with a hip Miami Beach-style vibe.

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