While Jamaica may not seem like a destination you need to be convinced of, it’s not always top of mind for faith-based event planners. However, with millions of visitors last year, all sorts of groups are learning this enchanting island can be a beautiful mix of both business and pleasure.
“With airlift from most major U.S. gateways on multiple carriers, getting to Jamaica has never been easier,” says John Woolcock, manager of groups and conventions at the Jamaica Tourist Board. “Montego Bay Convention Centre also allows us to accommodate large groups. Additionally, we have a variety of accommodations to suit every budget.”
Because there are more visitors each year than there are residents, Jamaica sees itself as an A-class destination for meeting planners: access, airlift, airports, arrive-in-style and attractions.
Montego Bay Convention Centre has 55,000 square feet of exhibition space and a banquet hall for up to 2,000 people. Woolcock adds, “Over the last few years, there has been a lot of hotel development, especially in Montego Bay, which is an advantage for citywide meetings.”
Of course, one cannot think of Jamaica and not picture the gorgeous scenery. Whether your event is a mix of indoors and outdoors, or solely focuses on fun in the sun, potential attendees always consider the location when making their decision. This island is sure to please. Plus, you have the benefit of its welcoming reputation and vibrant culture.
“Our people are our greatest asset and make Jamaica stand out with their friendly, warm and engaging personalities,” notes Woolcock. “Another key feature is the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, which can be experienced in our food, music and way of life.”
Many agree with him, including Roslyn Parker, CEO and chief experiences officer at Travel to Do Good. "Jamaica is the perfect destination for my groups,” she says. “The island offers incredible experiences that immerse travelers in its culture, people and history in a unique and engaging way. What can I say: I love Jamaica!”
Previous faith-based events on the island have included Come Celebrate Jesus Jamaica, Fun in the Son festival and multiple gatherings on behalf of the ministry It’s All Good Cause It’s All God.
For the latter, pastor Sherry Smith sees this country not simply as a destination, but a mission field. “In 2009, my ministry’s vision became international when my family and I went on a cruise and decided to take a plantation excursion,” she says. “I met several people working there and discovered they did not own Bibles because they couldn’t afford them. I sent them Bibles after returning home, and more people began requesting them. We have since hosted events several times each year to bless the people of Jamaica with Bibles and prayer books.”