KINGSTON, Jamaica – As part of its strategy to ensure Jamaica maintains its competitive advantage in the marketplace, and enhances its appeal to visitors, a series of expansions in the attractions and entertainment sectors as well as infrastructural developments have been undertaken.
As part of the airport expansion and development program, work is ongoing at both international airports.
At the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, NMIA Airports Limited and its parent company, Airports Authority of Jamaica have completed phase 1A of their three-part expansion project. Phase 1B is currently underway and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. This phase will include further upgrading of existing buildings, installation of new baggage handling facilities, airside works including the expansion of aircraft parking stands and an extension of the cargo and maintenance taxiway.
In the resort capital, MBJ Airports Limited, operators of the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, has completed its multi-phased expansion which included mechanical/electrical work on a section of the departures check-in lounge, work on the domestic area in addition to site work and landscaping.
On August 5, 2009, a new domestic airline began service in Jamaica. Skylan Airways, a Jamaican owned and operated air charter service, celebrated its inaugural flight from the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The company is now operating a 19-seater aircraft service between Kingston and Montego Bay with scheduled flights as well as charter services throughout the region.
The Port Authority of Jamaica is spearheading the development of a new cruise ship pier at Falmouth. Marine works have begun on the terminal expected to attract nearly 1 million visitors a year, now that Jamaica has secured financing. Upon completion, the Falmouth port will have the capacity to handle two 5,400-passenger Royal Caribbean Genesis-size ships simultaneously. The cruise terminal and shops will be themed on the Georgian architecture for which the town of Falmouth is noted.
ROADS & INFRASTRUCTURE
The Ocho Rios to Port Antonio segment of the North Coast Highway is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
New traffic changes are in place for the resort city of Montego Bay. The changes which took effect on November 7 will see the reversal of traffic movement on some corridors and an extension of the one way system on other roadways. The new plan is being financed through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
MONTEGO BAY CONVENTION CENTRE
On February 14, ground was broken in Rose Hall to begin construction of the Montego Bay Convention Centre. The facility will be built on 35 acres of land opposite the Shoppes at Rose Hall, and is expected to be open for events in January 2011. The Centre is designed to be a modern state-of-the-art facility, capable of hosting large and small meetings, conferences, exhibitions, banquets, weddings and other events. It will feature more than 50,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, more than 20,000 sq. ft. of banquet facility and more than 11,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
ATTRACTIONS & ENTERTAINMENT
· Enchanted Gardens, a lush tropical oasis located in the “Garden Parish” of St. Ann, is now open with food facilities, stunning waterfalls, trails for hiking and a bird sanctuary. The facility also offers opportunities for picnics.
· As of November 2009, Mystic Mountain has extended its operations to give patrons an equally thrilling nighttime experience. The facility is now open on Friday and Saturday nights for adventure seekers, making Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica one of the first attractions offering twilight excursions. The attraction will open for rides on the Sky Explorer to the top of the 700 feet high, Mystic Mountain. Guests can enjoy fine dining at R2 Restaurant, or ride the Tranopy zip-line, through the rainforest to platforms ringed with torches. A new advanced photo-system will also be in place for zipline enthusiasts at Mystic Mountain.
· Pure Nightclub, Jamaica’s newest hip lounge and club, opened in March 2009 next door to The Quad nightclub on Trinidad Terrace in New Kingston. The nightclub section Plush, opened, in April 2009. True to its sophistication and international appeal mantra, Pure patrons have the option of requesting valet parking and bottle service. Pure, which has 2000 square feet of lounge space, boasts a Johnny Walker-sponsored bar outfitted with silver stools, raised levels reserved for VIPs and a skybox which can accommodate a private gathering of about 20.
· Fiction, strategically located at the Marketplace, off Constant Spring Road caters to a diverse audience, using its hybrid design to deliver entertainment products tailored specifically to their needs. From social happenings to high energy nights, Fiction, in its short life span, has already catered to magazine launches, celebrity birthdays, wine tastings, and special events.