KINGSTON, Jamaica - Tourism and Entertainment minister Wykeham McNeil, says that Jamaica is the perfect destination for weddings and should maximise its potential income from this market.
The minister was speaking at the official opening, Saturday, of Montego Bay’s first “Jamaica Bridal Expo” held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in Rose Hall, St. James.
The event, which runs over two days, is being staged by private interests, with the backing of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and has approximately 80 exhibitors. The expo is seen by industry players as a move which can assist Jamaica to move up the rankings as a preferred destinations for staging weddings.
Following the ribbon cutting, McNeil told the audience that there is a strong market available internationally for weddings and Jamaica was a “perfect destination”. He noted however, that as a tourist destination Jamaica has not maximised its potential income from that market.
“I think going forward, having seen the success of what we have here, we have to see how we are going to use an event like this and build on it,” McNeil stated.
He suggested that for the expo's next staging, promotion should be done overseas in bridal magazines and other media, with a view to build on the intake.
McNeil congratulated the planners of the expo for what he described as a tremendous job well done, noting that he was looking forward, “to us having an event like this, every year for years to come, because I think it will be an important part of us expanding what we offer in Jamaica as destination weddings”.
In the meantime, managing director of Jamaica Bridal Expo, Peter Shoucair said that the staging of weddings is a multi-billion dollar industry around the world, and Jamaica is tapping into the tourism aspect of that market but has a far way to go.
“We decided that our bridal expo would be great for both local and destination (weddings). Not just for local brides but overseas brides as well, and it also benefits the entire (tourism) industry, from service providers, to decorators, to venues, hotels, people looking to get married or getting married,” he stated.
Shoucair added that some 250 travel agents were booked to visit the expo on the second day (Sunday, October 14).