JIS News

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says that Jamaica has been doing “very well” at World Travel Market (WTM) 2010, with heightened interest from the travel partners, who are out in full force.
“The business has been brisk. We are the happening stand of the Americas. We have quite a buzz and I’m proud of our performance as a destination,” said Mr. Bartlett, who is in London attending the four-day travel show, which ends on Thursday (Nov.11).
“Our success shows how important it is to keep our product levels high and to make destination Jamaica fashionable. This will help us to improve our competitiveness in the marketplace so that even when prices are tumbling all around, Jamaica will be able to hold its value,” he told JIS News.
He said that Jamaica’s strong showing at the show coupled with the country’s tremendous success at the 2010 World Travel Awards, have set the stage for a successful winter tourist season.
Jamaica won seven awards at the glitzy ceremony in London on Sunday night (Nov.7), among them, the Caribbean’s leading cruise shipping destination and the world’s leading resort destination in Montego Bay. There were awards for private sector partners as well including Sandals and Round Hill resorts.
“Out of this, we are expecting a very strong winter tourist season,” Minister Bartlett said.
He told JIS News that Jamaica continues to perform well despite the challenges to the tourism industry, created by the global recession.
He informed that the Ministry of Tourism was utilising a five-pronged approach to keep the industry buoyant during times of uncertainty, while ensuring that the framework is laid for exponential growth when the economy begins to rebound.
The five pillars are: developing new and emerging markets; implementing product enhancement activities; attracting new investments; embracing new technology and creating new partnerships. Among the new markets being explored are Russia, South America, China and India.
Minister Bartlett said the Tourism Encouragement Act, which is a refurbishment incentive plan, will be brought back to the table as part of a complete overhaul of the productive sector.
He added: “It is important that the industry gets that breather so that our products can remain fresh and crisp. We have discovered that tourism is about newness, freshness and aspirational development. We are seeing more countries getting into the market so the competitiveness of the industry is getting fiercer. We have to ensure that we are always saying something new, doing something different and inspiring the market. Jamaica, as a destination, must always be fashionable and be able to reinvent and refurbish itself.”
In the area of technology, Minister Bartlett said Jamaica had broken new ground with the new 3D promotional film that was unveiled at WTM. The film, which cost US$60,000 to produce, brings snippets of the island’s tourism product to life on screen. Minister Bartlett said the money was well spent.
“This investment will pay back itself time and again as we will be able to use media that we were not able to. We will have broader reach through cinemas, airlines and cable networks that embrace 3D. We are also using social media as a strong tool to market the brand. Jamaica as a destination is not afraid to showcase itself to the world. Now it’s not so much ‘once you go you know’, as now you can know before you go. The world doesn’t have to second guess Jamaica as a destination,” he said.

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