Jamaica Tourist Board aims to increase its UK business

Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) director of tourism Paul Pennicook has outlined plans to drive up the volume of UK C&I business to the destination. A programme of fam trips for UK agencies during 2004 has been drawn up, which will include "at least two" group trips plus visits organised on an individual basis. "This is a fairly new type of initiative for us but we have decided to invest in targeting the C&I sector because we see it as a growing market," said Pennicook. He added that the JTB was also considering other options for communicating with UK agencies, such as a direct mailing campaign. Pennicook said the destination will promote what he called its "great MICE product", including around a dozen hotels suitable for C&I groups. Among these are convention property the Renaissance Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, the Ritz-Carlton with its spa facilities, and renowned golfing venue the Wyndham Rose Hall Country Club. Incentive activities such as swimming with dolphins are being promoted alongside. The JTB director also revealed that plans for the construction of a purpose-built conference centre in Montego Bay have been approved by the local government, although no timescale for the project is yet available. Value for money is another factor that the JTB wishes to draw to the attention of UK groups. "We figure that with the weak dollar rate, prices are around 20% cheaper than they have been in recent years," said Pennicook. UK visitor numbers to Jamaica increased by 19% last year, against a 7% overall increase for tourism.

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