Inaugural Jamaica Travel Market a huge success
JAMAICA’S LAUNCH of its own United Kingdom (UK) trade show, Jamaica Travel Market, has been hailed as a resounding success by the country’s Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook.
His declaration has been endorsed by tourism stakeholders who attended the inaugural event at the Luton Hoo Hotel in Luton from September 29 to 30.
Some 21 Jamaican companies and 40 tour operator companies participated in the trade show. They included Sandals Resorts International, Couples, Jewels, Holiday Inn, Half Moon, Jamaica Inn and Palace Resorts.
The big three tour operators, Virgin Holidays, British Holidays and TUI, as well as Lotus Tours, Expedia UK and Diaspora experts Sackville and Newmont were busy signing contracts with the local suppliers.
Jamaica Travel Market (JTM) replaces the annual World Travel Market (WTM) held in London. “It was successful beyond imagination,” Pennicook told Hospitality Jamaica last weekend. Jamaica has been attending WTM for 25 years and making the decision to leave the premier global trade show last year was described as a bold move.
Pennicook said one of the most important benefits to come out of JTM was the fact the tour operators were able to focus on Jamaica instead of conducting business for 15 minutes and running from one country to the next, as is the norm at WTM.
“There was no distraction, the focus was on Jamaica; and the small hoteliers and attraction operators say they were able to speak with the tour operators they were never able to meet with at WTM, despite being there,” said Pennicook.
Having access to a computerised appointment system, all the Jamaican suppliers arrived at the trade show with pre-scheduled meetings.
In terms of cost, Pennicook said the tourism stakeholders were able to save up to 10 per cent on what
Winners at the inaugural Jamaica Travel Market Gala Dinner and Awards are captured in a celebratory mood with Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook (far left), Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (third right) and Elizabeth Fox (second right), regional director, UK/Northern Europe, JTB, at the Luton Hoo Hotel, United Kingdom (UK). The dinner honoured Jamaica’s top-performing agents and tour operators in terms of room growth. Kuoni picked up the award for top UK tour operator (centre), Sackville Travel took top UK travel agent/tour operator (second left), Expedia won top UK online tour operator (far right), while TUI collected two awards – top UK charter tour operator and top Nordic Tour operator (third left).
Round Hill Hotel’s Josef Forstmayr and Kerrie Bartholomew of Clear Marketing, Round Hill’s representative in the United Kingdom.