JTB Partners With Airbnb To Promote Tourism Product

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left), shakes hands with Public Policy Director for Central America and the Caribbean, Airbnb Inc., Shawn Sullivan (2nd left), following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) New Kingston offices on December 13 to promote the country’s tourist product. Others (from third left) are Chairman, JTB, John Lynch; and Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the two-year agreement “establishes a framework for cooperation to further boost and diversify Jamaica’s tourism product as we seek to attract five million arrivals in five years and to earn US$5 billion”.
  • Speaking with JIS News following the event, Public Policy Director for Central America and the Caribbean, Airbnb Inc., Shawn Sullivan, informed that through the partnership, the company intends to build on the Jamaica brand “and really push more tourists here”.
  • In Jamaica, the home-sharing accommodation service includes more than 4,000 hosts, who list their homes, apartments, beach houses or condominiums on Airbnb’s website at www.airbnb.com.

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with United States-based online company Airbnb Inc. for the promotion of the country’s tourism product, particularly in the area of accommodation.

Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people wanting to rent their homes and spaces with people needing affordable accommodation.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the two-year agreement “establishes a framework for cooperation to further boost and diversify Jamaica’s tourism product as we seek to attract five million arrivals in five years and to earn US$5 billion”.

He said it will provide visitors with access to economical easy-to-find lodging, as well as create income for ordinary Jamaicans, by allowing them to rent their homes/rooms to visitors.

Minister Bartlett, who was addressing the signing ceremony held at the JTB’s New Kingston offices on December 13, said the MOU provides opportunity to create positive travel experiences for visitors to the island, and expose them to Jamaica’s rich culture and warm hospitality.

He noted that in addition to fostering responsible home sharing, it will help to promote sporting events, festivals and other cultural activities.

Benefits will flow back to communities from the sale of craft, entertainment, transportation services and tour-guide services

 “Travellers choose Airbnb to experience destinations not as tourists but as locals. This is a boon for community tourism. Visitors get to completely immerse themselves in the local culture and experience the real Jamaica as they interact with locals, discover local attractions and sample local cuisine,” the Minister pointed out.

Speaking with JIS News following the event, Public Policy Director for Central America and the Caribbean, Airbnb Inc., Shawn Sullivan, informed that through the partnership, the company intends to build on the Jamaica brand “and really push more tourists here”.

He informed that Jamaica is already benefiting from Airbnb’s services, noting that last year, the company was responsible for bringing in approximately 32,000 tourists to Jamaica.

“It is our expectation that, with this MOU and working collaboratively with the tourism authorities and the Ministry of Tourism, we are going to be able to continue to grow that number, hopefully, exponentially,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan informed that the company is to set up a working group with the Government and other stakeholders to look at how Airbnb can support the JTB’s tourist promotions in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

“Then, through our own initiative, we are going to look at how we can highlight different events, places within Jamaica that we can try to push people to, through our website,” he noted.

In Jamaica, the home-sharing accommodation service includes more than 4,000 hosts, who list their homes, apartments, beach houses or condominiums on Airbnb’s website at www.airbnb.com.

More than 100,000,000 people have used the Airbnb platform to visit more than 34,000 cities in 191 countries around the world.

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