And yes, In The Know Traveler was there — dg —

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – July 23, 2010 – The Jamaica Tourist Board ramped up its social media and marketing efforts with its first-ever “Bloggers’ Meet-up in Jamaica.” Jamaica hosted a four-night visit, from July 15-19, establishing a proactive dialogue with influential travel bloggers who will continue to share personal and first-hand travel experiences with their audiences.

“This is just the first of many blogger meet-ups that the Jamaica Tourist Board will host,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “We recognize and respect the fast-growing blogger community and wish to actively engage them and share information on the destination that will pique the interest of their readers. With travelers looking to social media as an alternative source for information, it is essential that we remain relevant in the industry by enhancing our communication tools to reach out to and interact with potential travelers.”

Some of the top influential U.S. based travel and niche bloggers were invited to experience the unique offerings of the island’s traditional tourist regions – Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril – to further remind their readers that Jamaica is the destination for an unforgettable Caribbean getaway.

The bloggers were hosted by Unlimited-Luxury® Secrets Resorts & Spas in Montego Bay, the newly built 700-room, side-by-side Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchid resorts; and transportation to the various tourist regions were provided by AMSTAR.

“Secrets Resorts & Spas is pleased to partner with the Jamaica Tourist Board on efforts that seek to fortify the destination’s position as one of the leading Caribbean destinations,” said Alex Zozaya, president of AMResorts. “We recognize the importance of social media therefore this meet-up was an opportunity to better understand the needs of bloggers while welcoming them to experience Jamaica’s and Secrets Resorts & Spas’ exceptional offerings.”

During their stay in Jamaica, the social media group was able to stay connected with their audience courtesy of technological infrastructure put in place to facilitate real-time tweets, blog posts and video uploads. Bloggers also participated in a special webisode to air on Jamaica’s YouTube Channels.

The U.S. based media had an opportunity to interact with local Jamaican bloggers and experience the thrills of many of the island’s attractions including Dunn’s River Falls, Rick’s Café, Margaritaville, and Chukka Cove. The group also indulged in local cuisine at Scotchie’s – a choice spot for Jamaican jerk. Island Routes provided a tour of Negril on their catamaran and the bloggers also experienced Jamaican hospitality from Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril Resort & Spa.

Additionally, in an effort to enhance the way in which travelers receive timely information on the destination, the Jamaica Tourist Board has launched its own blog, The Island Buzz. The blog will feature the island’s latest news and events with fresh content added daily. The blog aims to be an alternative resource on Jamaica and welcomes the public to share their thoughts and opinions on posts, articles, promotions and more. Followers of the site can link to Facebook or re-tweet on Twitter to spread the news or encourage discussion. The blog evolved from the Island Buzz newsletter, which is sent monthly and has an opt-in database of 10,000 people. www.islandbuzzjamaica.com

About Secrets® Resorts & Spas
A member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Unlimited-Luxury® Secrets Resorts & Spas offer adults an extra measure of romance and sensuality in beautiful settings where everything is included. The award-winning resorts feature elegantly-appointed rooms and suites with 24-hour concierge and room services; multiple gourmet, a la carte restaurants and lounges serving premium beverages; endless day and evening activities in spectacular settings; and more. Information about Secrets Resorts & Spas is available by calling 1-866-GO-SECRETS or visiting www.secretsresorts.com.

About the Jamaica Tourist Board
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. The JTB was declared the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist and Convention Bureau by the World Travel Awards (WTA) from 2006 to 2009, while Jamaica earned the WTA’s vote as the World’s Leading Cruise Destination, the Caribbean’s Leading Destination and the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination, for the third consecutive year.

JTB offices are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Tokyo.

For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica go to the JTB’s Web site at www.visitjamaica.com, or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422). Follow the JTB on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamaica, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitjamaicanow or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/aboutjamaicajtb.

For more Jamaica Stories on ITKT