Jamaica’s role in tourism recovery to be recognized

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Jamaica’s role in leading the recovery of the Caribbean’s travel and tourism economy will be acknowledged by World Travel Awards at a VIP ceremony later this year.

The awards program, hailed as the “Oscars of the travel industry” by the global media, noted that Jamaica’s growth in visitor arrivals this year is expected to beat 2010’s five percent rise, and comes despite the on-going austerity challenges of key source markets in Europe and North America.

The ceremony, which takes place at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island in Montego Bay on October 7, 2011, is set to attract the top decision-makers and thought leaders from across the Americas and Caribbean as they compete for the most influential accolades in travel.

After months of voting featuring more than 2,000 organizations, the nominees have been whittled down. Categories include “Caribbean’s Leading Destination” with Aruba, Barbados, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Turks and Caicos, among those competing for top honours.

Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, lauded Jamaica’s performance in the tourism sector.

“Jamaica has proven one of the tourism stars of the global downturn because of its boundless appetite for reinvention – a spirit exemplified by our event host, Sandals Resorts. We are honoured that our ceremony forms part of this iconic brand’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

“The Caribbean is also capitalizing on the tremendous opportunities afforded by BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations, especially with traditional source markets stuttering. However, to unlock this potential, accompanying governmental support remains vital, including the easing of restrictions that currently limit intra-Caribbean travel.”

Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch, said Jamaica’s growth in 2010 amidst the global economic crisis was remarkable.

“We are fortunate to have an unrivaled tourism product offering diverse vacation experiences to the most discerning traveler, and this is complimented by a high-touch quality service, which makes our visitors want to return,” said Lynch. “Hosting WTA’s Caribbean and the Americas Ceremony will allow us to showcase that we offer an authentic experience, which provides value for money.”

The Caribbean and The Americas Ceremony marks the fifth and final leg of World Travel Awards 2011 Grand Tour, and will follow heats in Dubai, UAE; Antalya, Turkey; Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt and Bangkok, Thailand. Regional winners from these events will progress to the Grand Final in Doha, Qatar, in November.

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