"Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show - November 08, 2015
The Beach at Jewel RunawayBay in Jamaica
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Hour 1

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Click here to listen to Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.

Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board, 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Jamaica, W.I..
www.visitjamaica.com

Relax. Explore. Learn. Meet. Enjoy. Jamaica. Refresh yourself on an Island Paradise in the Caribbean rich with culture and natural beauty.

Travel Expert and Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams talks in this segment about Jamaica with Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board. Stephanie and Paul start with a little walk down memory lane since they have known each other for quite a while and reminisce about their early beginnings in the travel industry. Around the time they first met, Stephanie was at a US based travel franchise company as its second in command and Paul was an executive at the well known all-inclusive resort brand SuperClubs. Time has moved on, but neither Stephanie nor Paul is willing to say exactly how much, though it sounds like the relationship dates back to the 1980's (Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone). Paul Pennicook became Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board in July 2014, with a three year agreement with the government to fill his post. Stephanie vouches for Paul Pennicook's passion for Jamaica as well as his rich understanding of how to deliver a sincere message to the traveling public about what makes Jamaica such a great destination.

Paul Pennicook is excited about the increase for point of origin markets heading to Jamaica and is glad to have the opportunity to tweak the message regarding why travelers should choose Jamaica as their travel destination. He says he wants to drive home the message that Jamaica is a special place with the current marketing campaign "Home of All Right". He says that Jamaica as a people, a place and a way of life is about the feeling you get from a very positive Jamaican vibe; that everything is all right with the world. Paul says "it’s a feeling you can't get anywhere else because the people are so friendly; its famous cuisine including jerk chicken, and its rich cultural heritage of Reggae music which it gave the world, and of course the King of Reggae, Bob Marley." He says all these things come together in a special feeling which is in line with a television commercial that is currently running where the messaging goes, "Something in the air, the water, the people". Stephanie says, "It's all right with me!"

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams says about Jamaica, "there's a certain sense of withdrawal [symptoms] when you leave," and she definitely noticed how much stress Jamaica allowed her to let go of. Unfortunately, she says laughingly but with a heavy heart, "it was all was waiting for me back at JFK Airport" in New York, USA. She says the experience of coming back from Jamaica clarifies how special a place Jamaica is, especially in contrast to the hustle and bustle and rhythm of life in a place like New York City.

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams remarks that one of her most special memories of Jamaica is a tour she took with a group who navigated their way down the Martha Brae River. She describes the experience as "Immersed in nature in the most peaceful way," as the river is extremely gentle. Stephanie asks Paul Pennicook, the Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board, about his favorite spots in Jamaica or those places he might take a visitor. He says that with so many spots in Jamaica he doesn't have a favorite, but agrees with Stephanie that there is something special about the Martha Brae as a way of returning to nature and that "peaceful nature of it is what makes it so lovely." Drifting down the Martha Brae sounds like a great way to enjoy Jamaica's lush, rich, "jungley" atmosphere.

Stephanie Abrams describes the rafts used along the Martha Brae as very different from modern conventional river rafting or white water rafting boats. She thinks most people in the US would envision an inflatable boat when they think about river rafting, but in Jamaica, at least along the Martha Brae, the typical raft is a more traditional design using what she describes as long (30 plus feet) bamboo shafts which have been lashed together with a seating area integrated for two or three people to sit mid-raft as well as space for a standing guide to navigate the raft down river. Stephanie remembers that when she enjoyed the experience their guide was a gentleman named Richard, who liked to be called King Richard. Stephanie says to her listeners that if you ever come across King Richard, to tell him that she talks about him all the time on the radio. She says that as you go along the river it feels like a scene out of the Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn movie The African Queen (1951. Directed by: John Huston). It is clear that Stephanie had a wonderful time river rafting on the Martha Brae and that her Guide, King Richard, had a great affect on her and the experience.

Paul Pennicook, from the Jamaica Tourist Board, says that most people visiting Jamaica will come into Jamaica through Montego Bay, but says that Kingston, which also has an airport, has a tremendous amount of things to see and do. Kingston is Jamaica's capitol city and Paul says it "has a lot of the softer side of the country in terms of entertainment, music, theatre, the Blue Mountains [coffee plantation]. When you are in Kingston, in the center of the city, Paul says "if you look to the hills, those are the Blue Mountains". If you travel to the other side of the mountains, he says, "That is Port Antonio, the cradle of Jamaican tourism where tourism was born in Jamaica many years ago." Port Antonia is in the parish of Portland.

Stephanie says she remembers a wonderful visit to the Blue Mountain coffee plantation and that her husband who is a coffee enthusiast was a fan of their coffee. She tells listeners that if they don't have a chance to visit the plantation on their trip they can still make sure they head home with some samples because Blue Mountain coffee is sold at the Montego Bay airport

If coming into Jamaica through the Kingston airport, travelers can make plans to visit the Bob Marley museum which Paul Pennicook says is just about a 30 minute drive with or without traffic. He says that during President Obama's visit, which was just a quick 24 hours, the US President met with his staff at the US embassy and one of the President's main stops included a visit to the museum.

Stephanie Abrams and Paul Pennicook talk about Jamaica's Meet-The-People-Program. Stephanie says she had the pleasure of meeting a number of amazing, high achieving people who are members and volunteers in the Jamaica Meet-The-People-Program. One of these is Peter Lloyd, who she describes as a talented, wonderful guy who is a reggae artist and she says has performed on Walt Disney movies. Stephanie says that when she thinks of a standard "meet the people" type program, she expects to meet more average people, not stars. She cites examples ranging from chefs to artists and musicians like Peter Lloyd as representative of the level of professional and unexpected talent that is part of the program.

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams jokes that part of her charm is that she has to stick her nose into everyone's business and recounts a story from when she was at the Montego Bay airport about meeting a group of Canadian travel agents who were remarking that all they got to see on their Familiarization trip (FAM trip) were the resorts and not much local variation. Stephanie thinks it would be wonderful if FAM trips included entry into Jamaica's Meet-The-People-Program so they too could benefit from interacting with real artisans and Jamaican locals to broaden their education about the destination and the people.

Paul Pennicook tells listeners more about the Jamaica Meet-The-People-Program which he says connects travelers with Jamaicans of like interests and facilitates actually interacting with the people, share experiences and in cases foster the beginnings of lasting friendships. For instance, Paul postulates, maybe a teacher from Wisconsin comes and visits with a teacher in Montego Bay to visit their school, or church to really see how Jamaicans of similar interest live and work and play. He says people of varying interests and background from carpenters to cooks can meet and interact… meet with a Jamaican cook, for instance, to learn more about Jamaican cooking or just cooking in general.

What about all the other things to do and see in Jamaica? Stephanie and Paul agree that there's a ton of options, more than 150 activities by Paul's count. Stephanie says there's no way a week is enough to tap into everything the island offers. Paul suggests some perennial favorites might include climbing the Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios and that there are lots of newer attractions like the Dolphin Experience, riding the Mystic Mountain gondola up above the canopy, or gliding through the mountains on a zip line. Mike Drakulich, a previous guest on this radio program and Chairman as well as Managing Director of Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, gets a mention from Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams.

Stephanie remarks that Jamaica is truly becoming an International destination and that she's met many people from the UK as well as Australia, Germany and Canada on the Island. Paul Pennicook says he's excited about many new developments in Jamaican tourism including the arrival of a new resort offering by Palace Resorts, a group based in Mexico, which bought a resort in Jamaica that re-opened in July 2015. The Moon Palace will have over 700 rooms and Paul thinks that Palace Resorts, the management company, has done a spectacular job fixing up the hotel. Paul also mentions Braco Beach Resort in Trelawny reopening as Melia Braco in early 2016. Paul says the Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay is adding more rooms for this season as well.

Shifting gears to talk about lift, or the amount of airline seats available into Jamaica, Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board, says that there are 50,000 new seats [of lift] coming in from the US and another 10-20,000 coming in from Europe. He says there are new and existing flights from many different carriers culminating in the reality that a traveler can be in any "city, town or hamlet in the US" and get to Jamaica within one day of travel. To name a few specific and noteworthy offerings, new flights from the US are available from Frontier Airlines with flights from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Also, he says, Southwest Airlines just added a flight from Houston, Texas' William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) beginning November 1, 2015 and American Airlines adds a nonstop from Los Angeles, California on weekends starting in December, 2015. JetBlue, he says, is flying to Kingston and Montego Bay Airports in Jamaica with nonstops from New York, Los Angeles, California, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts. Paul is also excited about a new route from Sweden with a stopover in Norway that continues nonstop to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Jamaica is a destination plentiful with things to see and do as well as tremendous opportunity to learn, discover its culture not to mention relax. Stephanie says that with so many great reasons to visit, one week is not enough but is a great start for a much needed break from the cold and the stresses of life!

Related Photo Galleries:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1623
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1620

Travelers411 Directory:
Click here for the Jamaica Tourist Board Directory listing where you'll find links to all interviews with Jamaica Tourist Board in one place.

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Paul Pennicook.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19428

For more information visit www.visitjamaica.com


Guests Include:

Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board, 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Jamaica, W.I..
www.visitjamaica.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Scott Robbins, General Manager, Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort, Runaway Bay, St. Ann, Jamaica.
www.jewelresorts.com
www.visitjamaica.com

Related Photo Galleries:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1620

Travelers411 Directory:
Click here for the Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort Directory listing where you'll find links to all interviews with Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort in one place.

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Scott Robbins.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19429

For more information visit www.jewelresorts.com and www.visitjamaica.com


Guests Include:

Scott Robbins, General Manager, Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort, Runaway Bay, St. Ann, Jamaica.
www.jewelresorts.com
www.visitjamaica.com

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Greg Witt, Founder and Owner, Alpenwild, Zermatt, Switzerland and Provo, Utah, USA.
www.alpenwild.com

Related Photo Galleries:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=1622

Travelers411 Directory:
Click here for the Alpenwild Directory listing where you'll find links to all interviews with Alpenwild in one place.

Click here for more info and links to all interviews featuring Greg Witt.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
https://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19430

For more information visit www.alpenwild.com


Guests Include:

Greg Witt, Founder and Owner, Alpenwild, Zermatt, Switzerland and Provo, Utah, USA.
www.alpenwild.com

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