A week ago, I attended the Jamaica Tourism Board’s dinner and seminar at Maggiano’s in Clayton, MO. It was a fun evening, full of “ya mon’s” and great reggae music accompanying the videos of Jamaica. As a group of travel agents, we got the latest updates to what is happening and changing in Jamaica. Have your travel experiences included a trip to Jamaica in recent years?
Jamaica’s Hotel and Tourism sectors are expanding and improving on a wide scale basis. It’s product continues to change & evolve to meet the preferences and the diverse needs of all types of guests: families, couples, singles, nature-lovers, and adventure seekers. Everyone can find something to love in Jamaica with the new attractions, hotel and resort developments and renovations, infrastructure development, new restaurants to satisfy all tastes, and so much more. Some new resorts and entertainment options are now appearing, while the existing resorts and attractions are stepping up to make improvements and renovations to their properties. Some of the new properties include: Karisma’s Azul Sensatori, Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara, RIU Palace Jamaica, and the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande.
Did you know there are 3 International Airports in Jamaica? The 3rd Int’l Airport, Ian Fleming International Airport, located just 5 miles East of Ochos Rios, is named after the author of the James Bond novels (who wrote most of his books in Jamaica). The Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, is currently working on phase 2 of it’s expansion project & opening a new section containing: a Customs area, police station, baggage delivery systems, rental car agencies, tour operators, food & beverage outlets, and hotel arrival lounges. And in the Kingston Airport, the expansion is working in 3 phases, including a new 2 level passenger pier, several jet bridges, 66 additional airline check-in positions, and the most current and updated airport technology.
Making travel easier for residents and visitors, Island-wide road improvements are continuous. An example of this would be the North Coast Highway and Highway 2000 both cut the driving time from Ochos Rios to Kingston to just a little over an hour.
Do you know how many cruise passengers arrive in Falmouth, Jamaica, in the month of April? This is amazing…50,000! And, a ship the size of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas can be accommodated in the pier. Arriving passengers will find more than 40 attractions in and around Falmouth. The Ports Authority of Jamaica and RCL have joined together to create this joint venture.
And, what else is everyone waiting for? If you guessed new resorts, you’re correct! Karisma Hotels, famous on the Mexican Riviera Maya, has just opened the Azul Sensatori Jamaica, formerly Beaches Sandy Bay in Negril. This all-inclusive property has 140 rooms and is gourmet inclusive for couples, singles, and families – a truly multi-generational resort.
Ochos Rios – The Moon Palace Grande (formerly Sunset Jamaica Grande) is re-opening in late spring of 2015, and is the Palace’s first hotel outside of Mexico. When complete, it will feature 730 renovated & modernized guest rooms, restaurant upgrades, and a 17 acre beachfront on the longest private beach in Ochos Rios.
At Jewel Runaway Bay, a $5 million dollar waterpark is being constructed to open early in 2015. The resort has just completed a $20 million dollar renovation & building of new suites, pools, and restaurants. A new low rise block of 30 rooms, with oceanfront appeal, was added on the West beach.
Montego Bay – Sandals Resorts Int’l plans on building 5 over the water villa suites on it’s private island in Montego Bay. Each villa will have glass floors, a private jacuzzi tub with steps leading directly into the ocean, king beds, over the water hammocks, and soaking tubs. Do these sound like Bora Bora, but without the 20 hour flight? Traveling to Jamaica from St. Louis on a charter flight, is a quick 4 – 4 1/2 hours. Projected date of completion is late 2015
Montego Bay – Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, situated in a privileged pristine white sand beach with spectacular views of the Caribbean, welcomes guests of all ages, and will open following a multi-million dollar renovation that has totally recreated this former Rose Hall. Right next door is the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, a gourmet indulgent escape for adults, couples, friends and individuals.
Jamaica, where nothing is a problem “mon”, is an island paradise where reggae, romance and the Caribbean sun come together. It’s vibrant Blue Mountains tower above the shimmering sands and “true blue” turquoise waters. Did you know that Jamaica was the pioneer of the all-inclusive vacation concept? Most travelers find this to be an island that just “does it better”.