Adrian Frater, News Editor
Western Bureau:In the period immediately following Jamaica's Independence in 1962, the scenic town of Montego Bay was dubbed the nation's tourist capital, as with its many and varied attractions, enticing nightlife, lovely white-sand beaches and fabulous hotels, it occupied pride of place in local tourism.
Now some 50 years later, while it still remains a premier tourism destination, Montego Bay is steadily losing much of its once-captivating allure to towns like Ocho Rios, Negril and Falmouth, the nation's new cruise-shipping capital.
In reflecting on the era in which Montego Bay was the undisputed first choice for cruise passengers, one cannot help but acknowledge that the majestic hotels, enticing white-sand beaches, classy golf courses, rich nightlife, which still conjure up fond memories for many, were the principal factors.
A listing of the factors that made Montego Bay a hit with visitors fell primarily under the categories of entertainment, sports, attractions and beaches. The names, events and activities that still bring a smile to the faces of old-timers include the following:
The Banana Boat Club - famous for its rich night-life steeped in live band music, intoxicating liquor and beautiful women.
The Disco Inferno - the hub of youthful exuberance and new global trends.
The Studio 54 Club - the city's haven for Jamaican sound-system music
The Cave Disco at the Seawind Resort, where local and visitors mixed and mingled on the dance floor.
Regular football matches at Jarrett Park featuring locals against the crews of visiting cruise ships.
International cricket at Jarrett Park.
Arguably the most beautiful golf courses in the Caribbean.
The Rose Hall Great House and its compelling stories about the white witch, Annie Palmer.
The Appleton Tour, which took visitors by rail from Montego Bay to the Appleton Sugar Estate in St Elizabeth.
The Montego Bay City Centre, the undisputed haven for the finest Jamaica souvenirs.
The Montego Bay Craft Market, the premier destination for local art and craft.
The world-famous Doctors' Cave Beach, which visitors and local believe possesses healing powers.
The Cornwall Beach, which offered a rich watersports package.
The Buccaneer Beach, which gives an eye-catching view of aircraft taking-off and landing at the Sangster International Airport.