Jamaica is not only one of the Caribbean’s most popular islands with North American vacationers, it is among the world’s most popular destination wedding stops.
That status was confirmed earlier this month when it was named World’s Leading Wedding Destination at the World Travel Awards held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam.
While Jamaica also received awards in the cruise, all-inclusive resort, luxury hotel villa and villa resort categories, destination weddings represent a fast-growing segment that offers outstanding commission-earning potential for travel consultants.MORE DESTINATION & TOURISM
“My destination wedding business continues to increase year after year in Jamaica,” said Joel Scholtz, franchise owner of Cruise Planners. “For Jamaica, I’d say my wedding business has tripled over this period.”
“Jamaica is one of our top sellers for destination weddings and has been since 2005,” said Jennifer Donscenz, president of VIP Vacations. “The numbers have been rising steadily since 2010 and have remained consistent over the past few years.”
Jamaica’s destination wedding business is helped immeasurably by the island’s overall popularity. The country’s 2.8 million visitors in 2016 place it behind only Cuba and the Dominican Republic as the Caribbean’s most-visited destinations. Under the guidance of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the country has parlayed its natural attractions into surging visitor arrival numbers.
“We will continue our tireless efforts to grow our tourism product to enable our visitors to have memorable experiences in the home of all right,” said Donnie Dawson, Jamaica’s acting director of tourism.
Jamaica’s natural attractions range from beautiful beaches to lush ranges including the John and Crow Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“One of Jamaica’s strengths as a wedding destination is the island itself,” said Scholtz of Cruise Planners. The country features “700 miles of coastline, beautiful secluded beaches, delicious local fare and the friendly, laid-back spirit of the locals.”
Jamaica has also benefited from a surging hotel and resort sector and expanding airline service.
“Jamaica has so many all-Inclusive resort options and many unique destinations,” said Schlotz, “from the fast-paced tourist hub of Montego Bay, to Ocho Rios—with numerous excursions including Dunns River Falls and Mystic Mountain—to the more laid-back vibe of Negril with the most beautiful Seven Mile Beach.”
In terms of weddings, Jamaica is something of an ideal destination, said Donscenz of VIP Vacations: “It is very easy to get married in Jamaica, and if couples are looking for a legal wedding versus a symbolic wedding, Jamaica is the first destination we suggest. Jamaica has also been lucky enough to not get hit by any hurricanes in the past few years.”
She said Jamaica’s primary competition are Mexico and the Dominican Republic, with Jamaica offering advantages compared with the other two destinations: “Wedding couples hear the sensationalized stories about Mexican crime or have watched the paths of recent hurricanes (which were heading to the Dominican Republic) and many times they instantly decide to avoid certain destinations.”
Jennifer Donscenz, president of VIP Vacations, was interviewed by Travel Pulse for the article “Jamaica at the Apex of Wedding Destinations”. “Jamaica is one of our top sellers for destination weddings and has been since 2005,” said Donscenz. “The numbers have been rising steadily since 2010 and have remained consistent over the past few years.”
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