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Open Jaw

For Mr. & Mrs. Right, Jamaica’s All Right

Weddings are easy and other groups find everything they need too

Transat Commercial Director Nicole Bursey takes no time at all to list off several reasons why Jamaica is a great place for a destination wedding.

“It’s an easy destination for travellers. It’s a short flight with lots of choices and gateways. There’s a fabulous hotel product, from big all-inclusives from reputable brands to small, boutique properties. And the food is great, now coming into its own internationally,” Bursey said.

“Specifically, for weddings, Jamaicans speak English, so there’s no translation of documents required and communication with wedding coordinators is easy. There’s less red tape too, and no blood test required. Couples just need to bring a few required documents. Plus, Jamaica has beautiful settings and they know how to do weddings right,” Bursey adds.

Bursey says Jamaica is “always adding to its product and keeping up to trends,” keeping the island on the leading edge of quality and innovation. “In the past few years there have been some great new hotels open up and lots of investment in the product overall. Competition is always good and there’s more coming in future years. There’s still a lot of land to accommodate new properties.”

“There are a lot of people out there who totally understand that it’s worth paying a bit more for a great product.” – Nicole Bursey, Transat

While Jamaica packages may cost more on average than some other destinations, Bursey says the number of Canadian visitors keeps rising, putting the lie to the perception that Canada is solely a price-driven market.

“There are a lot of people out there who totally understand that it’s worth paying a bit more for a great product. That’s especially true in the wedding and honeymoon market,” Bursey adds.

The Transat veteran says the Canadian destination wedding market continues to grow. “We’ve noticed that the average size of wedding groups has gone down a little bit in the past few years. Brides are being more reasonable with their expectations as the size of the group can impact the budget.”

Plenty of airlift and frequency is another advantage for Jamaica’s destination wedding offering, Bursey says.

“Since it’s close and there are multiple flights, family members can come down for a few days for the wedding. Then the bride and groom can continue on with their honeymoon. It works very well.”

Of course, weddings aren’t the only group market, and Jamaica is proficient in handling groups of all types.

“We’ve always been strong in corporate groups,” says Philip Rose, Regional Director, Canada for the Jamaica Tourist Board.

“Multi-gen groups are often led by grandparents who want to show children and grandkids a place they love.” – Philip Rose, Jamaica Tourist Board

“We have the latest A/V and telecom equipment and well-trained, high-touch personnel. We’re seeing a major uptick in voluntourism, which often takes place away from busy tourist areas, and we’ve also seen a major increase in multi-generational groups, often generated by grandparents who have been travelling to Jamaica for decades, and want to introduce their children and grandchildren to a place they love.”

Jamaica, which always punches above its weight in international athletics and other sports, is also working to attract more sports-focused groups and training camps.

Bursey says that the much-publicized state of emergency in the Montego Bay area which gave authorities more resources to take on criminal gangs, caused a “short-lived blip” in reservations back in January.

"It has all bounced back now. The language around the issue made it sound worse than it is. We have no concerns about taking clients to Jamaica and I think Philip and the Jamaica Tourist Board did a great job of dealing with the issue. They didn’t hide and they communicated clearly about the situation. Agents know that we would never take their clients to a destination if we felt it was dangerous in any way. My first family vacation was to Jamaica and we just found it amazingly easy and comfortable.”

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