Some hotels in Jamaica are reporting 60-90 per cent occupancy through a combination of local and international guests and this is fuelling optimism for a healthy 2020 winter tourism season.
In a Destination Jamaica update at the virtual Jamaica Product Exchange JAPEX), yesterday (November 9), Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said hoteliers have reported “numbers reaching nearly 90 per cent around holiday weekends”.
Bartlett said several hotels have been “redefining the meaning of luxury to accommodate more private experiences”.
Among those he hightlighted were Eclipse at Half Moon, a major new luxury property at the Montego Bay, St James resort that reportedly provides the luxury of space, privacy and peace of mind with meticulous health and safety protocols.
Bartlett also pointed to renovation under way at the former Oceana Hotel in Kingston which is to be rebranded ROK-Kingston – a 168-room property overlooking Kingston’s waterfront, to be managed by Hilton Hotels through its Tapestry Collection trademark.
“It will be part of a multipurpose complex including retail, onsite entertainment and commercial office space,” he said.
Noting other developments at Chukka Cove in Ocho Rios, the additional expansion of high-end hotels along the Elegant Corridor in Montego Bay and other planned development expansion in Trelawny and St. Ann, Bartlett said there have been tireless efforts to provide a Jamaica that is safe and enjoyable to all, in recovery and beyond.
In the meantime, arguing that “Jamaica is a destination that always seeks to punch above its weight”, Nicola Madden Greig, chair of the JAPEX Organising Committee and past president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, said that, despite COVID-19, Jamaica is not only poised “to regain market share and survive but also, to thrive”.
She said that “2020 was the most difficult and challenging year ever for tourism and the world, forcing us to reimagine JAPEX and present for the first time ever, a totally virtual experience”.
Pointing to the record attendance this year of more than 2,000 participants, including tour operators, travel agents, local supplier companies and media delegates, Madden Greig said the participation proved the continued strength of Brand Jamaica with international partners from a range of countries including the United States, Canada, Spain, Russia, China, India, Australia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom.