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Jamaica to host Caribbean Marketplace 2011

Published:Monday | April 19, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Tourism officials were ecstatic last Thursday after getting word that Jamaica has been selected to host Caribbean Marketplace 2011, widely regarded as the biggest tourism event in the region.

"This fits in perfectly with our strategy to grow tourism in this country," said John Lynch, director of tourism and chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).

"All the destinations that have had it have seen spurts in arrivals immediately afterwards, so there is great value to it," echoed Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) President Enrique de Marchena Kaluche announced Jamaica's selection during a press conference at The Jamaica Pegasus on Thursday.

Caribbean Marketplace is scheduled for January 16-18 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, which is still under construction.

CHTA Chief Executive Officer Alec Sanguinetti said assurances that the centre will be finished in time helped Jamaica's bid.

Construction slowdown

Bartlett admitted that construction slowed down recently, but said work was now moving at a "good clip" and was slated to be completed at the end of the year.

"I agree that is going to make it tight ... but the critical areas needed for the convention will be ready," he declared.

Sanguinetti said Caribbean Marketplace usually attracted thousands of buyer delegates from around the world "and will leave behind a substantial war chest".

The event was last held in Jamaica in 2005 when it was attended by 1,500 delegates.