Tourism Minister, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett has urged other destinations in the Americas to pursue marketing support arrangements with airlines to ensure airlift security. Minister Bartlett, who was one of the presenters at the Routes Americas Strategy Forum held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on the weekend, noted that “the new architecture of the aviation industry demands partnerships to ensure route security, as spiralling costs diminish yields and threaten their profitability."
The Minister explained that “Caribbean and other destinations are increasingly partnering with airlines to secure routes and are paying millions to do so. Hence efforts must then be made to maximize the effectiveness of these partnerships and to ensure a win-win outcome."
Minister Bartlett, on Sunday, underscored that there are three main airlift agreement options available to destinations, revenue guarantees, marketing support and seat support. He indicated that it is most advantageous if a strategy which entails marketing support is pursued as “this enables the building of the brand recognition of the destination in the market and also enables a synergy of brands to the benefit of all."
The Americas Strategy Forum, which is put on by the UK-based Airport Strategy and Marketing Ltd, is organized to provide invaluable insight into aviation in the region. It fosters a unique opportunity for the region’s airlines, airport and tourism leaders as well as policymakers to meet face-to-face to discuss the issues that will have a profound impact on sustainable air transport development within the Americas.
Minister Bartlett’s comments come as the Tourism Ministry seeks to plug an imminent gap in Jamaica’s airlift capacity, which has arisen as more United States-based carriers shift focus to their domestic market for summer. To this end, the Minister indicated that he along with the Director of Tourism and Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), John Lynch, and other members of the JTB Team, who are also in Santo Domingo, have been holding discussions with representatives from a number of airlines, in a bid to have new routes introduced out of South America and to increase the frequency of rotation from the existing gateways in the U.S.
The Tourism Minister was invited to share Jamaica’s recipe for success in maintaining its position as the Caribbean’s leading tourist destination in the face of stiff competition and the global economic downturn which triggered a reduction in air travel.
In highlighting aspects of the strategy employed by him and his team to grow tourist arrivals and stave off competition from other destinations, Minister Bartlett advised that Jamaica utilized what is referred to as “disruptive marketing." This is, he explained, “doing things differently from the way the market is accustomed to them being done, as sameness never brings growth, you have to innovate as that is when growth is guaranteed."
Another strategy the Minister outlined is the use of adaptive pricing. “This is an approach Jamaica has taken as opposed to discounting. Jamaica saw it better to use this strategy as under this approach prices remain the same but the values improve, with offerings such as paying for two nights and getting three being an example,” he explained. The Minister added that “the value of adaptive pricing is that you will not devalue the destination. So that after the recession is over the consumer will still bear in mind the destination’s true value."
Tourist arrivals to Jamaica increased 4.7 percent last year. This is on top of the 3.6 percent growth recorded in 2009. Figures from the Jamaica Tourist Board are showing a 7.6 percent increase in stopover arrivals and a 10.5 percent jump in cruise arrivals for the January 2011, when compared with the same period the year before.
Minister Bartlett returns to the island tomorrow, Tuesday February 15.
Issued by: The Ministry of Tourism