KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Preliminary discussions regarding collaborative efforts between the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the Miami Beach Convention Centre; the twinning of Negril, Westmoreland with the city of Miami Beach and targeting of tourism investment partnerships between Jamaica and Miami Beach business interests are among the outcomes of a meeting between Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett and Miami Beach Mayor, Philip Levine in the city on Friday.
The partnerships come as Southwest Airlines announced daily nonstop flights between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Montego Bay, Jamaica starting in June this year thereby adding thousands of new seats in and out of Jamaica and increasing connectivity to other US cities as Jamaica’s tourism industry continues to grow. Southwest is a major U.S. airline and the world’s largest low-cost carrier already with daily nonstop service into Montego Bay from Orlando Florida; Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois and Baltimore, Maryland.
A longtime friend of Bartlett, Mayor Levine noted the very strong affinity between Jamaica and Miami Beach and expressed confidence in the growing tourism industries for both destinations. A widely respected Political and Business Leader, Levine made a fortune as a cruise-ship media magnate who spent his spare time hobnobbing with celebrities like Mick Jagger and Hillary and Bill Clinton – and was a member of former President Barack Obama’s taskforce on Tourism. Minister Bartlett was accompanied by President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica, Mr. Ron McKay and Senior Advisor, Delano Seiveright.
“With the Ministry of Tourism now recently owning and managing the loss ridden Montego Bay Convention Centre (MBCC), we have moved aggressively at building partnerships with leaders in the field to grow the lucrative meetings market locally. Already we have secured the Montego Bay Convention Centre to host the 2017 United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development Conference a first for the region and the Western Hemisphere. A partnership with the Miami Beach Convention Centre which receives more than 600,000 visitors annually and is currently undergoing a major overhaul is expected to assist us in becoming a regional powerhouse for Conference and other events”, Bartlett noted.
Additionally, Miami Beach with 7 miles of beaches, 3 Golf Courses, 20 Parks and a wide spread of Art and Culture, Dining, Nightlife and shopping offers an opportunity to exchange know how and contacts as Negril continues to develop, with no intention however of growing to the scale of Miami Beach. The twinning of Negril and Miami Beach is expected to drive the exchange of technical knowledge including shoreline maintenance, interest and investment opportunities.
Seiveright in the meantime noted that, “Minister Bartlett and other officials are expected to return to Florida for the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference which has been the cruise industry’s premier global event, bringing together buyers, suppliers, and cruise line executives for a week of networking, sourcing, innovation, and education. Bartlett is also expected to meet with representatives of the Miami Beaches Convention Centre on collaborative efforts with the Montego Bay Convention Centre.”