Jamaica Director of Tourism Talks Selling Kingston, Port Antonio

May 25, 2017

As part of our “Five Questions With…” series, Travel Agent chats with Paul Pennicook, Jamaica’s director of tourism.

Find out what he has to say about the trendiest happenings in the country as well as what Jamaica is doing to attract more Millennials.

1. One of Travel Agent's all-time favorite trips to Jamaica was two days in Kingston and two days in Port Antonio. What is being done to attract more tourists to these two parts of Jamaica?

Kingston, the cultural center of the island, has been designated a Creative City of Music by UNESCO and was named byThe New York Times as one of the "52 Places to Go in 2017." Kingston has been a favorite for music and cultural enthusiasts, while Port Antonio is popular among nature lovers and those in search of a laid back vacation or with celebrities looking for a quiet getaway.

To attract more visitors to Kingston, we have been promoting the culturally diverse array of activities that are held, encouraging promoters to offer special packages. To entice visitors to Port Antonio, we promote the eco-tourism offerings of this region and its sustainability. We have also been working with our airline and accommodation partners to ensure we have the requisite airlift to Kingston as well as the rooms to fill the increasing demand of the discerning traveler.

2. What is the hottest/newsiest/trendiest tourism topic in Jamaica right now? How does it relate to travel agents?

One of the hottest tourism trends we are seeing now in Jamaica is the demand for authentic experiences. More and more visitors are looking to go outside the hotel properties to experience the island’s cuisine, culture, and music.

Travelers are looking to go beyond the traditional offerings and explore roadside food stalls and meet the local people. Additionally, purpose driven travel has become increasingly popular with visitors wanting to go visit a local community, school or church where they can volunteer. This fits in perfectly with our "Meet The People" program. There are a number of agents who are catering more and more to this traveler.

3. What is Jamaica doing to attract more Millennials? What are some of the hottest hotels in Jamaica for this market?

As part of our overall strategy as a destination to attract Millennials, the Jamaica Tourist Board has been seeking to actively engage them using the various social media channels.

We have sought to keep pace with the trend as Millennials are expected to make up almost 50 percent of the workforce by 2020. With this group spending much of their day online, we have become much more socially engaging to ensure we reach these Millennials, who have a huge disposable income and who are looking for cool and unique experiences.

Some of the hotels which I believe have been of interest to this growing market include Goldeneye in Ocho Rios, Great Huts in Port Antonio, Jakes on the South Coast, Spanish Court in Kingston and Rockhouse in Negril.

4. Where is your favorite place to travel and why?

London, England. It’s just a great city to visit.

5. Where are you off to next? Any personal info or news you’d like to share?

New York City - to participate in the [Caribbean Tourism Organization's] Caribbean Weekand spend a bit of time enjoying New York.

Visit www.visitjamaica.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent's Joe Pike on Twitter @Travelpike and Instagram @pike5260.

Want more “Five Questions with…” stories? Check out a recent feature we did on Howard C. Karawan, president and managing director of Atlantis, Paradise Island, by clicking here.