Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Tourism stakeholders want entertainment, shopping on conference agenda

Published:Thursday | November 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM
T'Shura Gibbs
Ravi Daswani
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The president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, T'Shura Gibbs, says that shopping and entertainment are important value-added components of tourism which should be actively promoted to delegates attending the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnership for Sustainable Tourism.

Gibbs maintains that it has been proven that persons travel around the world for both shopping and entertainment, and "Jamaica certainly has a competitive advantage in these two areas".

She said, "I am happy to see that entertainment in particular is now a major part of the visitor experience inside the hotels. However, we are pushing for more of these activities to be seen outside the properties, so that guests can interact with locals and have a good time. A good example of this is facilitated on the famous "Hip-strip" in Montego Bay, where places, such as Margaritaville, come alive at nights."

 

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

 

For his part, event planner and entertainment consultant, Mortimer Martin, said that Jamaica has a golden opportunity to showcase both shopping and entertainment on a large scale, during the three-day tourism conference, November 27-29 at the Montego Convention Centre in St James.

"Many of the delegates coming to the UNWTO global conference will want to experience some of the shopping and the entertainment," Martin pointed out.

"I am hoping that with the presence of the overseas media, this is something that we can truly capitalise on and show that we are a destination which has moved beyond the sun, sea and sand and has truly diversified. When you look at the creative genius of many of our artisans and craft traders and experience the performance quality of our entertainers, I believe that the conference will be a very productive and inclusive one for Jamaica."

Martin added that in conversations with hotel general managers and restaurant owners, "they concur that there is a direct link between entertainment and guest satisfaction".

He noted, "What we are experiencing now is real investment in entertainment packages, particularly the excellent cabaret singers. I suspect that they have been doing the market research, which is informing them about the value of a good entertainment package as part of their product offerings."

... Jamaica duty-free shopping tops Caribbean competitors

Ravi Daswani, a senior director in the Royal Shop chain of duty-free stores, said that duty-free shopping in Jamaica is truly "head and shoulders" above many of its competitors in the Caribbean region.

"When you visit a duty-free mall, such as the Shoppes at Rose Hall here in Montego Bay, there is really nothing to match that in the region," he argued. "And when you combine shopping and entertainment, that is a convenient marriage and certainly a winning formula."

Daswani said it was his belief that "Jamaica shines brightest whenever there is a spotlight on us", adding that the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organization is the perfect forum in which to demonstrate the unique and diverse aspects of Jamaica's local tourism product to the world.

The three-day tourism conference is being held from November 27-29 at the Montego Convention Centre in St James.