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Jamaica celebrates record-breaking arrivals with a 'Feel The Vibe' promotion in New Jersey

Published:Friday | May 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMDave Rodney/Gleaner Writer
Some of the participants in the Jamaica Tourist Board’s ‘Feel The Vibe’ promotion in West Orange, New Jersey, on Tuesday night. From left: Christopher Dobson, JTB; Patrick Flemmings, Holiday Inn Resort; Kenton Senior and Victoria Harper, both JTB; and Sebastian Maureschal, Sandals Resorts.

New Jersey, United States:

The reggae anthem From A Little Cottage in Negril was the backdrop for a promotional party that brought out over 60 of Jamaica's most productive travel professionals in New Jersey to the plush Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange. They came out on Tuesday evening to celebrate Jamaica's spectacular accomplishment of attracting over 4.3 million visitors to the island for 2017.

This milestone is no small feat, given the fact that several Caribbean destinations are still reeling from a travel slump in the aftermath of hurricane devastation last year in the region.

Jamaica's impressive showing in the marketplace was not without hurdles. Jamaica had to battle an ongoing crime problem on the island that generated negative international press, and the concerns with crime in the tourist capital of Montego Bay eventually led to the declaration of a state of public emergency a few months ago. But despite any challenges that Jamaica's tourism sector must face moving forward, the mood at Tuesday's celebration was overwhelmingly upbeat. Not once were there questions raised about the state of public emergency from the travel professionals present, and the Jamaica Tourist Board's (JTB) business development officers certainly did an outstanding job to build fervour and obsession for travel to Jamaica for the year ahead and beyond.

The JTB officers thanked the travel professionals for their unwavering support over the past year, and that sentiment was echoed by a number of suppliers who also came out to promote their Jamaica travel brands, among them, Holiday Inn, Vacation Express, Delta Vacations, AM Resorts, Couples, Sandals, and Travel Impressions.




"We continue to be very excited about Jamaica, and this year, we will continue to expand our routes, including non-stops from JFK to Kingston," Deborah Marcellara, business development manager with Delta Vacations, told the audience.

Patrick Flemmings, business development manager for Holiday Inn Resort, who also represents The Courtleigh, The Jamaica Pegasus, and the Knutsford Court hotels, evoked thunderous applause from the travel specialists when he pointed out that all the properties in his group are 100 per cent Jamaican owned and, therefore, deliver an authentic, fully baked Jamaican experience on every level.

"Every worker employed to our properties is Jamaican - from the general managers to the gardeners," he continued to rousing approval.

Recent statistics released by the JTB for March 2018 indicate that all US regions continue to grow for stopover arrivals, with the northeast leading the way with a whopping 22.1 per cent growth over the same period last year.

There are indeed some good reasons for the industry to celebrate within the United States, and the 'Feel The Vibe' promotions will continue later this month in Philadelphia and Baltimore.