Jamaica Steals Show at Caribbean Week
Some 30 tourism destinations from the Caribbean region came together to promote travel and generate new business alliances and growth opportunities under the umbrella of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation during Caribbean Week, June 1-7.
Destinations, resorts, villas, airlines, cruises, attractions and related companies all compete for thousands of eyeballs from consumers in the lucrative Northeastern United States market region.
Even the historic Empire State Building was decorated in island colours to commemorate the week. With robust growth and 26.3 million visitor arrivals to the Caribbean last year, the mood was justifiably festive.
Amid the flurry of activity with tourist boards, investors, hoteliers, artists, celebrity chefs, fashion designers, meetings, parties and even a folk festival, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) staged a coup. JTB used its 60th anniversary as a magnet and sailed way with more than 70 of the most influential and productive travel partners for a three-hour sunset dinner cruise on the Hudson River, telling its travel story against a backdrop of colourful, larger-than-life displays.
A live band played reggae on the upper deck and while the travel-trade executives sipped on pre-dinner Red Stripe beer and Appleton rums, Tourism Director Paul Pennicook thanked attendees for their solid support of Jamaica over the years.
He reminded them that Jamaica's growth for the first quarter of 2015, 9.1 per cent from the United States, had outpaced that of the Caribbean region, as a whole, with growth at 5.6 per cent over the same period last year.
After dinner, many happy recollections about the unique Jamaica experience were shared throughout the evening. Captain of the Majestic Princess stopped briefly just off the Statue of Liberty to facilitate photo opportunities. At the end, each guest was thanked by the JTB team for participating and presented with a hand-wrapped gift.
Among those on board were Pauline Piggot, senior director (Caribbean) for Travel Impressions, Joe Pike, travel editor, Travel Agent Magazine; Kathy Halpern, vice-president, Palace Resorts; author of Blue Streak: Inside Jet Blue; and Conde Nast senior aviation correspondent, Barbara Peterson; James Shillinglaw, editor-in-chief, Travelalliance Media; Donnie Dawson, deputy director, tourism for North America and Latin America; and Helen Allison Minott, senior assistant to the director of tourism.