Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Online travel company, Expedia expands its footprints in Jamaica

Published:Monday | April 24, 2017 | 4:00 AM
From left: Expedia’s Eric David, Deputy Director of Tourism Marcia McLaughlin and Jamaica Tours’ Noel ‘Sport’ Sloley Jr during the opening of the Expedia Local Expert Lounge at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James.

Western Bureau:

Jamaica is now home to global online travel company Expedia's first international Local Expert Lounge.

In an historic partnership between the tour operator giants and local destination management company Jamaica Tours Limited (JTL), the lounge was officially opened at the Sangster International Airport last Thursday.

The two companies have a long history of doing business together. The facility, which will be manned by JTL staff, has been opened even as Expedia reveals bookings with Jamaican hotels in excess of 250,000 room nights in 2016, placing them among the top five suppliers of tourists to the island.

"This is a very significant step for Jamaica because what this is showing is Expedia's commitment to the destination for this sort of investment and partnership," stated JTL's vice-president of sales and marketing, Noel 'Sport' Sloley Jr, during the intimate ceremony in the arrivals hall.

He suggested that this was also an indication that the online booking company, which has arrangements with more than 1,000 destinations worldwide, will use this to promote Jamaica ahead of some of its Caribbean neighbours.

The move has been welcomed by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and that organisation's deputy director of tourism, Marcia McLaughlin, during her address to the media, described it as an endorsement of Brand Jamaica.

"The fact that Jamaica is the first destination where they are implementing this lounge really does exemplify the strength of our partnership and the strength of our brand," she posited, adding that they were one of Jamaica's major global partners put their footprint in the country.

Expedia's vice-president and general manager of the global offline partner operation, Expedia Local Expert, Eric David, says the lounge will allow Expedia Inc's guests a place to orientate themselves to the destination after their flight.

The lounge will serve as a place for Expedia guests to check in for their ground transportation to their hotels and receive their Expedia welcome kits with destination information.

"It will also serve as a way for all of our guests to receive a warm Expedia Jamaican welcome to what is sure to be a trip of a lifetime here in Jamaica."

He said the plan was to make Jamaica different from all the other destinations, which will in turn help Expedia immensely in all aspects.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com