Montego Bay Convention Center to open in December '08

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Rose Hall, Montego Bay will be the site of the Montego Bay Convention Center, scheduled to open in December 2008.

 

The center is a joint venture between the government of Jamaica and Ex-Im Bank of China, which will be the majority shareholder, financing $45.4 million of the total $51.7 million cost.

Basil Smith, director of tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board, said that construction of the center "comes at an opportune time for Jamaica and will become the focal point of our meeting, conventions and exhibitions product."

The center will be built on 23 acres of land at Rose Hall and will offer more than 215,000 square feet of meeting space.

The most recent, and largest, convention center to open in the Caribbean was the Puerto Rico Convention Center in November 2005. In its first year of operation, the center hosted about 15 major groups, including the annual Caribbean Hotel Association Marketplace in January.

At least 33 groups already are on the books through 2011, which will result in an economic impact to Puerto Rico of well over $24 million. Those groups include the Caribbean Tourism Organization, which will host its annual Caribbean Tourism Conference Oct. 19 to 24.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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