Jamaica Gleaner: WESTERN BUREAU, By Albert Ferguson Donovan White, director of tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board, has asserted that business travel is on the rise and that Jamaica is rapidly bouncing back to pre-COVID-19 levels due to the anticipated growth of the country’s meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) sector.
The growth of the MICE market is typically not measured in percentages, but hoteliers report that group travel is flourishing, with reservations being made up to 18 months prior to arrivals.
“Business travel is back and in-person events are once again being well attended,” White told more than 40 planners and buyers who attended the Caribbean Meeting and Incentive Travel Exchange (CMITE) one-on-one meetings with Jamaican suppliers in an effort to attract more business to the island.
“We here in Jamaica could not be more pleased as Group business has long been a key component of our strategy for the development and growth of the island’s tourism product,” he added.
The CMITE focus meetings that took place at Secrets Wild Orchid connected pre-qualified, fully hosted, North American meeting planners & incentive buyers with leading Caribbean and Mexico-based suppliers to foster meaningful industry relationships.
The objective of the CMITE meeting is to promote Jamaica as a warm-weather destination of choice with the personnel, infrastructure, and strong cultural appeal that will result in reservations for meeting and incentive groups.
White noted that the MICE market remains a vital sector for Jamaica as a destination, and the country is pleased that CMITE has selected Jamaica to host this important meeting.
“It’s the kind of market that’s built on a lot of sensitivity, so we’ve worked very hard over the last two and a half to three years since COVID to rebuild Jamaica’s appetite for business travel, meetings, and conventions,” he said.
In addition to the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, which are owned by the Government, the island also has other large conference rooms on resort properties, he states.
According to the tourism director, MICE travel, which is a segment of the travel and tourism market in which people travel for business-oriented purposes such as meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions, is a segment not measured by percentages because groups come in different sizes and meetings come in different shapes and sizes.
“All our partners are beginning to report that they are beginning to see in their reservations, six months, 12-month, and 18-months ahead for large groups coming back to Jamaica and that is an extremely good sign for our forecasting ability of arrivals to the destination,” White revealed.
“Our hotels have adequate meeting spaces, and our partners who are interested in this segment of the market have ensured that their hotels have the necessary facilities to accommodate small, medium, and even 600-person groups.”
The global MICE market was worth $876.42 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 7.5 per cent between 2023 and 2030.