Jamaica strengthens ties with Miami Beach
Preliminary discussions regarding collaborative efforts between the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the Miami Beach Convention Centre; the twinning of Negril, Westmoreland, with the city of Miami Beach; and targeting of tourism investment partnerships between Jamaica and Miami Beach business interests are among the outcomes of a meeting between Jamaica's Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine last Friday.
The partnerships come as Southwest Airlines announced daily non-stop flights between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Montego Bay, Jamaica, starting in June.
This will add thousands of new seats in and out of Jamaica and increasing connectivity to other US cities as Jamaica's tourism industry continues to grow.
Southwest is a major US airline and the world's largest low-cost carrier already with daily non-stop service into Montego Bay from Orlando, Florida; Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Baltimore, Maryland.
A long-time friend of Bartlett, Levine noted the very strong affinity between Jamaica and Miami Beach and expressed confidence in the growing tourism industries for both destinations.
A widely respected political and business leader, Levine made a fortune as a cruise-ship media magnate who spent his spare time hobnobbing with celebrities like Mick Jagger and Hillary and Bill Clinton - and was a member of former President Barack Obama's task force on tourism.
Bartlett was accompanied by president of the American Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica, Ron McKay, and senior adviser in the tourism ministry, Delano Seiveright.