Montego Bay convention centre nears break-even point

Monday Exchange

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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The Montego Bay Convention Centre (MBCC) in Rose Hall, St James continues to rebound from millions in losses during the initial years of its opening in 2011. Today, the centre — which has a combined total of 139,302 square feet of meeting, exhibition, and ballroom spaces — is approaching the point of being a profitable operation, according to the Tourism Product Development Company Ltd (TPDCo).

“One of the things that I am pleased to see in recent times is that the convention centre is close to that break-even point that we want to see it at,” TPDCo Executive Director Dr Andrew Spencer told reporters and editors at yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

Spencer, who also sits on the MBCC board of directors, attributed the financial improvement to cost-saving measures as well as better execution of events.

“What has been happening is that the management is acutely aware of the need to get to that point, and that is a combination of cost-cutting but also a higher quality execution of events,” Spencer said.

Also, in recent times, the convention centre has been awarded six consecutive World Travel Awards as the Caribbean's Leading Meeting and Conference Centre.

Pointing to the global challenges that convention centres face, Spencer emphasised the significance of these improvements.

“Internationally, conference centres are not profitable; most of them are pull factors for the surrounding areas. So if you have a convention centre that is almost breaking even, you are doing very well. And what we are seeing is that hotels are full as a result of the kind of conferences that people are able to host in that space. So we are getting there, and one day we might be able to make a declaration that it is one of the few profitable convention centres,” Spencer concluded.

Termed a white elephant in the past because of its heavy losses, the convention centre, in 2014, reported a 53 per cent jump in revenues over the previous year.

It was built in 2011 by the State-run Urban Development Corporation at the behest of the umbrella Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

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