Underlying its continued support of the ever-important religious meetings market, the Jamaica Tourist Board increased its presence at this year’s Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA) World Conference & Exposition as sponsor of the “Catch the Spirit” luncheon on January 29, 2009. The Conference took place from January 26-30, 2009 in Grand Rapids, MI, where the Jamaica Tourist Board also hosted an informational booth for religious meeting planners to learn more about the destination and its offerings to the meetings and conventions market.
“The religious market has always been of great importance to Jamaica,” said Marcia Bullock, the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Regional Director – Groups & Conventions. “Jamaica welcomes groups of all religious denominations, and with our continually increasing amount of meeting space and number of hotels across the island, we are positioned now more than ever to host groups of any size.”
Bullock welcomed guests to the Jan. 29 Jamaican-themed luncheon, where she shared details on Jamaica’s offerings for groups with any style and budget. Her remarks were met with great enthusiasm from attendees, who also learned about the types of faith-based opportunities found in Jamaica – from a voluntourism trip to a group trip with church members or a religious convention – as well as the variety of activities and attractions offered across the island.
New Rooms, Meeting Space and Attractions
Jamaica currently offers 170,000 sq. ft of meeting space island-wide, with 30,000-plus hotel rooms, and that number is growing to better meet the needs of large meeting groups and conventions. The Riu Montego Bay opened last fall with some 681 rooms, while the Iberostar Rose Hall Resort, Iberostar Rose Hall Suites and Iberostar Rose Hall Grand now offer 978 rooms combined. Scheduled to open in June this year, Solis the Palmyra Resort & Spa will feature 13,000 sq. ft of indoor meeting space and outdoor event lawns, while the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort, part of the Fiesta Hotel Group, feature over 1,000 rooms with five banquet and convention rooms that accommodate between 20 to 264 people.
A range of new and expanded attractions is also adding to Jamaica’s new dynamic. The attractions are themed to showcase the island’s rich history and cultural heritage while at the same time being entertaining and informative. Opened last summer, Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s new environmentally friendly attractions which has been a magnet for new and return visitors.
Furthermore, meeting planners will find Jamaica is easy to get to, with service from the major airlines out of gateways across the U.S. to two international airports located in Jamaica.
The 2009 RCMA World Conference & Exposition took place from January 26-30, where annually more than 1,300 meeting planners convene to learn about the latest offerings for the religious meetings market.