JIS News

The Government is targeting events marketing as a means of boosting visitor arrivals, and a team headed by Deputy Director of Tourism, Zachary Harding, has been assigned to develop a framework to guide events tourism strategies and policies for the industry.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, speaking in a recent interview with JIS News, said that two experts from United Kingdom, who are competent in the area of events tourism, will be visiting the island to assist in the process.
“These experts are the finest in the world in this area. One of them is the person, who successfully negotiated the last two Olympic Games and the World Cup (of football) for destinations across the world,” he informed.
He said that the experts “will not only (help to) develop this strategy, but also start the detailed planning for the first World Beach Sprint to be held in Negril in November of this year.”
According to Minister Bartlett, events related to sports, health and wellness, and music are “strong passion points”, which can lure more visitors to destination Jamaica.
“In times such as these, people will travel to realize their passions. They have to be driven by some deeper value. When they have choices to make in terms of how to use their diminishing dollar, your destination must be impelling them to travel to you,” he argued.
Highlighting the impact of music in boosting the sector, Minister Bartlett said that the recently held Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival was a major contributor to the significant increase in tourist arrivals for January.
He said that there was a major spike in tourist arrivals towards the end of the month, when the festival was held.
“At the first week of January, we were down 6.4 per cent; the second week, we were down 0.3 per cent; the following week, we were up 1.3 per cent, then 1.8 per cent and the three days following that, we were up 51.1 per cent,” the Minister outlined.
“The point is that, we saw the spike during the two weeks when the festival took place and if it were not for the staging of the festival, the overall growth in arrivals in January would not have happened,” he stated, noting that hotels in the Montego Bay area, both large and small, were full to capacity during that time.
According to the Tourism Minister, “our involvement with major events, starting with the new Jamaica Jazz and Blues, is not about contributing to activities around the town, but a strategic engagement, based on building events, that will attract large numbers of visitors into the country.”
He told JIS News that the overall plan is to identify four to five major events every year, which could become calendar events.
“We could start marketing and promoting these events from early in the year, get them into our tour operators’ diaries across the globe, get them into our advertising and marketing programme to assist in bringing more heads to beds, more lookers into bookers and more feet to the streets of Jamaica,” he stated.
In the meantime, he told JIS News that the Negril beach sprint will highlight Jamaica as a leading lifestyle travel destination, and a country of sporting excellence.
In marketing the country as a sports destination, focus will be placed on key sports such as athletics, cricket, football, netball and golf.

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