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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has stressed the important role information technology plays in the total enhancement of the tourist industry. This, he says, as the country seeks to make the product more attractive and competitive in the global economy.
Addressing the monthly meeting of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) at the Ritz Carlton Resort and Spa in Montego Bay on Saturday (September 20), Mr. Bartlett described technology “one of the most important sources for increasing economic growth.”
“We rely heavily on the supply and exchange of information throughout the production and distribution chain. As a more computer literate generation of consumers moves towards more independent and flexible holiday packages, tourism partners need to find new ways to satisfy these needs to the visitors. Because satisfying the needs of the guests increases your visibility and your bottom line,” the Minister pointed out.
He stressed that being able to connect and to stay connected, was a vital part of the overall experience the visitor wants on coming to Jamaica. He said services such as: cyber centres, business centres, conference facilities, multi-media services, satellite links, and in-room services with touch screen check-outs and telephones, were critical aspects of the “add-on” provisions that were driving the industry.
“Tourism is, in fact, an information intensive sector, and communication and technology are becoming key drivers for us in organizing and marketing our product. We, in Jamaica, are now embarking on website marketing as an additional tool in our marketing repertoire. Just two weeks ago, we launched a very significant re-energized, re-organized, and rejuvenated website marketing programme. By this, we have brought the technology to the level where, we are not only able now to have internet bookings, but we are now able to give our visitors virtual experiences before they come to the destination,” the Tourism Minister told participants at the meeting.
“As we seek to make the industry more competitive, we have to rely on an improved cadre of professionals in the financial and technological areas of the industry. So I want, really, to congratulate you for the kind of work that you all have been doing, in building this capability for the industry. Jamaica’s own competitiveness in the future depends a lot on you and the quality information that you give to us, who have to drive the marketing in the industry,” Mr. Bartlett pointed out.
He reiterated that the Ministry will soon be commissioning a study on ‘the demand analysis’ of the industry, to be able to quantify the needs of the industry on a sector basis.
“Under my watch, we are going to work to ensure that the tourism dollar stays in Jamaica. And for it to stay in Jamaica, we must be able to tap into the vital key supply chain. To do this, we must know what the demands are,” Mr. Bartlett argued.
He reiterated that the Hospitality Financial and Technological Professionals play a critical role in moving the tourist industry forward, and commended them for ‘organizing yourselves in the way you have, to give yourselves the tools to enhance your own professionalism, so that you can contribute more to this industry that is going to make Jamaica a truly first world country.”