Travel agents to pick Hospitalty Jamaica's award nominees
WESTERN BUREAU: MORE THAN 130 travel agents who are attending The Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) trade show will converge at the Montego Bay Convention Centre today to, among other things, nominate entities for The Gleaner Company's Hospitality Jamaica's 10th anniversary awards.
The travel agents arrived in Jamaica on Saturday and were at the official opening of JAPEX on Sunday. Members of the group are from the United States, Canada, Cayman, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
Sandra Scott, deputy director of tourism marketing, told The Gleaner that it was important to have travel agents participate in nominating entities for awards of this nature, as they are have first-hand experience of the tourism product.
"They are the ones that sell Jamaica. A lot of times, people may go online and research where they want to go, but when it comes to the actual booking, they will go to someone they have confidence in for recommendations. They have seen the product; they have stayed there so they are better able to recommend and vote effectively," Scott said.
The Gleaner's tourism-trade publication, Hospitality Jamaica, celebrates its 10th year of existence this year, with a series of activities including the staging of the first Hospitality Jamaica 10th Anniversary Awards, which will recognise industry stakeholders for their outstanding contribution to the sector at a grand gala at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday, October 25.
Ten awards will be presented, including the Best EP, Best All-inclusive, Best Small/Boutique and Best Eco/Sustainable hotels. There will also be an award for the Best Purveyor, Best Transportation (ground or air), Best Attraction, Best in Entertainment, Best Convention Centre and Best Cuisine. An award will also be presented to an individual who has excelled over the years, playing a major role as an ambassador for the industry.
Hospitality Jamaica started as a fortnightly trade magazine in October 2004. Its aim was to highlight happenings in the tourism sector, especially on the business side. Senior journalist at The Gleaner Company, Janet Silvera, has been the coordinator of the publication since its inception.
In addition to the nominations, the travel agents are expected to tour the JAPEX trade floor for approximately an hour to meet with partners and suppliers. They will also participate in a group session where they will be addressed by the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, and the chapter chairs of Jamaica's six resort areas. Scott will also present a product update on the island's accommodation and the attractions sector.
Yesterday, the travel agents participated in product development and product-knowledge activities, including hotel and attractions inspections in four resort areas: Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril and the south coast.