Jamaica 2018 | MONTEGO BAY | REVIEW

The tourism capital of the Caribbean is on track to become the capital of more than just tourism.

While Montego Bay is Jamaica's second city, rapidly growing industries are creating a strong economy, turning it into a regional capital of more than just tourism. When TBY sat down with the city's mayor, Homer Davis, he shared his vision for the city, “a cleaner, more orderly, and organized city,” in order to sustain and grow tourism numbers and to support the city's blossoming industrial sector.

Montego Bay is hard at work building itself into a hub for not only tourism. Perhaps unexpectedly, the city is becoming Jamaica's hub for BPO and inward investment. Mayor Davis says many tourists look forward particularly to the country's cuisine, especially jerk. It is a flavor that Davis says cannot be found anywhere else, and the city is working to bring its own cuisine to the forefront in hotels and tourist restaurants. There are even tentative plans to build a culinary school at the Montego Bay Convention Center.
While the tourism sector plays a vital role in not only the local economy but for the entire island, the rapid rise of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is creating welcomed diversity to Montego Bay's economy. The sector currently employs over 22,000, and is expected to grow up to 30,000 by the end of 2018. With the government aiming to build the sector to account for an eventual 250,000 jobs, BPO is a sector that will surely rival or even overtake tourism, which, according to Davis, supplies close to 105,000 direct jobs. With an educated, English-speaking population, Jamaica, and Montego Bay especially, is becoming a new BPO hub for North American companies looking to bring their operations closer to home.
The Montego Bay Free Zone opened in 1985 and has been key to bringing and building industries in the city. While several international companies have landed in the free zone, it is currently at work building a 200-seat incubator for local entrepreneurs.