Jamaica checks all the boxes when it comes to that ideal vacation: sunshine, beautiful beaches, great food (jerk chicken, escovitch fish, rum punch, Red Stripe beer), can’t-sit-in- your-seat reggae music, sailing and waterfalls. It’s the trip you wait for all year. And with the cruise industry rebounding, Jamaica is on track to lure 3 million cruise ship visitors by 2025.
As much as Jamaica is all about fun, it’s also a place to do business. When it comes to meetings, trade shows and conventions, Jamaica delivers. The World MICE Awards crowned Jamaica the Caribbean’s Best MICE Destination 2021.
Look to Jamaica’s renowned luxurious, all-inclusive resorts and hotels, many with top-notch convention and meeting facilities. These include The Jamaica Pegasus, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, AC Hotel by Marriott Kingston, Half Moon Resort and Sandals South Coast, among others. The excellence doesn’t stop there.
The oceanfront Montego Bay Convention Centre, set on 35 acres with scenic mountain and ocean views, features more than 135,000 square feet of meeting, exhibition and ballroom spaces with state-of-the-art technology — all conveniently located 15 minutes from Sangster International Airport.
Montego Bay also boasts world-class resorts like Eclipse at Half Moon, and for R&R you’ll find golfing, fishing, bamboo rafting, snorkeling, Doctor’s Cave Beach and an array of restaurants. Meeting goers can explore Ocho Rios — just 90 minutes away and home to Dunn’s River Falls and Park, as well as Mystic Mountain for ziplining in the jungle, rides and more.
In Negril, also a mere 90 minutes away, get your water fix with all that the famous Seven Mile Beach offers. A bonus: the five miles of cliffs. Enjoy the laid-back, casual- chic vibe in Negril, with fun spots like Rick’s Café where you can catch the most incredible sunsets and watch the uninhibited jump from the cliffs into the sea.
The Jamaica Conference Centre sits on the waterfront in the bustling downtown business district in Kingston, the nation’s capital. Expect bells and whistles like conference rooms decked out with an electronic voting system, observers’ gallery, press galleries, elevated rostrum, portable circular stage for special performances, exhibition hall and much more. All conference rooms are equipped for simultaneous interpretation of six languages. Host smaller meetings and workshops in the caucus rooms. For a swanky cocktail party, head to the facility’s Harbour Lounge and take in the sight of the Palisadoes Peninsula from a 220-foot tempered-glass wall. The Seabreeze Restaurant overlooks the entry plaza, reflecting pool and garden. Norman Manley International Airport lies 20 minutes away.
Discover the rich culture in Kingston with its theaters, recording studios, museums like Bob Marley Museum, restaurants and art galleries. You can also enjoy nature, as this vibrant city sits at the foot of the Blue and John Crow Mountains, where you can explore. Arrange an intriguing outing in the village of Port Royal, at the end of the Palisadoes at the mouth of Kingston Harbour, a sunken city and once the hangout for pirates and buccaneers. Port Royal remains one of the best-preserved underwater heritage sites.
BELLEFIELD GREAT HOUSE AND ESTATE
Bellefield Great House and Estate, one of the oldest sugar plantations in Jamaica, lies 15 minutes from Montego Bay. Guests can tour the sugar mill from the early 1700s. The gardens, city, estate and mountain views make for a dramatic, beautiful setting for a special event. The Great House, built in the 1600s, offers venue spaces that accommodate 10–600 guests. Idyllic spots include the Front Lawn and Fountain with giant palm trees; mirrored, cut-stone staircases that lead to a three-tiered fountain; and city views that stretch to the sea.
DEVON HOUSE MANSION
Devon House Mansion displays Caribbean and Georgian architecture at its finest. Highlights of the Kingston property include the Formal Gardens, ideal for an elegant evening soirée with palms, fountains and a stone aisle with grand marble steps entering the mansion. It says, “Wow!” For larger outdoor events or exhibits, choose the lush green South Lawn, complete with a gazebo to stage presentations and performances.
ROSE HALL GREAT HOUSE
This restored 18th-century architectural marvel in Montego Bay is awash in greenery, history and beauty, ideal for special events. Rose Hall Estate boasts two championship golf courses with views of the Caribbean, waterfalls and more.
On National Cheese Lover’s Day, Azamara announced a brand-new land program offering travelers the opportunity to experience a cheese-making workshop on Mount Rigi in the Swiss Alps.
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Meeting planners looking for a more environmentally conscious destination for their next event need look no further: Barcelona is it. Fira de Barcelona, one of Europe’s most important trade event organizations, commits to making events greener at facilities like CCIB, the Barcelona International Convention Center. By looking to local wind and solar sources, among other natural processes, Barcelona makes a significant impact by leaving smaller carbon footprints in the future by using zero-mile, or entirely local, energy.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
Villa specialist Maya Luxe offers guests curated and bespoke accommodations in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. This local company works with companies in the region to provide unique itineraries for guests to enjoy, from tequila tastings to cooking classes to in-house spa services. Unlike other rental companies, Maya Luxe caters to a high-end market in which homeowners enjoy a concierge service to help them provide the best experience for guests.
The United Family of Cards from Chase recently teamed with Timeshifter, a circadian technology platform, to launch the Jet Set & Reset pledge and sweepstakes, exclusive to United MileagePlus members. Members who take the pledge in 2023 will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a prize from three potential prize categories.
Awareness about fair and sustainable travel continues to grow around the globe, with travelers everywhere considering a destination’s eco-friendly options before visiting. As public consciousness for this important aspect of tourism strengthens, tourists also look beyond just ecotourism and delve deeper into types of travel that allow them to respect the local culture, interact with locals and distribute benefits fairly.