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Montego Bay, Jamaica: March 4, 2015: The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has thrown its full support behind the upcoming MoBay City Run, describing the charity event as an asset to the development of sports tourism and the education of young Jamaicans.
Speaking at the event’s launch yesterday at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, JTB Chairman, Dennis Morrison said the event fitted admirably into the growing niche market of sports tourism which can be of tremendous benefit to the country’s tourism earnings and education.
The event, now in its second year, takes place on Sunday, May 3, 2015. It encompasses both a 5k and 10k road race throughout downtown Montego Bay to raise funds for youth education in Jamaica. Chairman of MoBay City Run, Janet Silvera, said the target is $5 million. The proceeds will support students attending institutions such as the University of the West Indies and University of Technology western campuses, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College and the Montego Bay Community College. Over 4,000 sport enthusiasts, including 20 travel agents from Canada, are expected to participate in this year’s event.
From a tourism standpoint, Mr. Morrison said, “the news in our tourism sector is good these days as we continue to enjoy a positive image as a leading Caribbean destination and our arrival figures and occupancy rates continue to be robust and surpass last year’s.”
However, he said The Jamaica Tourist Board along with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment as well as the private sector are partnering to find ways to increase earnings in the sector and to capitalize on all areas that complement the JTB’s marketing efforts in order to reap maximum benefits from the industry.
Noting that the multi-billion dollar business of Sports Tourism is one such aspect, and is one of the fastest growing areas in the global travel and tourism industry, the JTB Chairman said Montego Bay should aim to have a marathon on its agenda.
He said “we see great potential for developing sports tourism as a viable niche market segment. Jamaica is able to leverage the international acclaim that our best musicians enjoy worldwide to become the Mecca of popular music. The same competitive advantage exists for us as a recognized superpower in athletics – thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented and high achieving athletes. This makes the development of sports tourism a viable growth segment on which to capitalize.”
Mr. Morrison stressed that as co-sponsor, “this why the JTB has allocated additional resources as well as international marketing and promotional support to the City Run as it admirably fits our sports tourism model. Of equal importance is the fact that by donating the proceeds to our young people it directly impacts the development of this community which after all is the primary objective of our industry.”
He noted that access to tertiary education had improved dramatically in western Jamaica with the city leaders seeing Montego Bay becoming a true University City, contributing to the development and economic growth of the area, providing jobs, raising living standards and improving the quality of life of the citizens of western Jamaica.