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Jamaica A Top Target Market For Leading Hotel Group

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The global lodging company, Choice Hotels International, seeking to increase its footprint and Caribbean reach, has its sights on destination Jamaica.
Bill Clegg, Regional Vice President for Brand Performance and Programs of Choice Hotels International, revealed the Jamaica intent at the recent Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Marketplace in the Bahamas.
Clegg identified Jamaica as one of the top five 2012 target markets for Choice Hotels, also naming Aruba, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands as the other key destinations in its sight.
The company is keen on offering its traditional economy and midscale brands, but a priority for Choice and the region is the new upscale Ascend Collection membership program for independent hotels which fall into the historic, boutique or unique categories.
“We are very keen on re-establishing our presence in Jamaica and driving more business to an already robust tourism destination within the region,” said Clegg, who recently vacationed on the island.
Choice Hotels currently has projects under development in Anguilla, Dominica, Haiti and are in the final stages of negotiation to award a franchise to a hotel development in St. Maarten in the Dutch West Indies.
Jose Salvador Icaza, Caribbean Franchise Development Director for Choice Hotels International, said while development deals across the industry have slowed with the global recession, Ascend offers independent hotels “a leg up” without having to conform to traditional brand requirements. 
“Hotel members benefit from our powerful marketing and reservations systems, education and training, and are given the tools to strengthen their commitment to service excellence,” said Icaza. “We’re excited about Ascend and hope to bring Jamaica online in the near future.”

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