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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said that an aggressive marketing campaign is being undertaken to lure tourists to the island, noting that advertisements are already being circulated to major media outlets such as CNN.
Mr. Bartlett, who was speaking at yesterday’s (Nov. 26) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said that despite the meltdown of the global economy, there is “still some juice in the market for us to get, and this is why we have developed this very extensive marketing programme.”
The campaign will primarily target the United States (US), which is Jamaica’s largest tourist market and some 1,200 radio stations will be brought into the island “to beam from Jamaica into the US”.
“We are going to be hitting the main cities with blitzes,” he informed further, noting that “the different hotel groups in Jamaica will be partnering with us. We will be looking at trade magazines and newspapers”.
The marketing effort, the Tourism Minister said, will target the Jamaican Diaspora in the US. “The Diaspora is about nine per cent of our stopover arrivals – that’s huge. So it’s going to be heavy marketing, marketing, marketing,” he emphasised.
He also mentioned that new airlift arrangements and product enhancement activities and strategies have also been employed in the industry.
Turning to growth figures, the Minister said that the industry is expected to end the year with growth of between four to five per cent. “At the end of September this year, there has been 5.5 per cent growth, which is significant in this region. We recognise that the year will end with growth; the challenges begin in the new year. In so far as coming out of a tough year is concerned, I think that the industry can feel justifiably proud that it worked hard, it fought against great odds, and is coming out of a tough year with growth,” Mr. Bartlett stated.
In the meantime, the Minister said that the first ever beach sprint, which will be staged in Negril, Westmoreland in November next year, is part of strategies to promote sports tourism in Jamaica.
“Coming out of Beijing and of course the genius of the Jamaican sports fraternity, (this) has given us more than ample leverage to make Jamaica a sporting mecca as a destination…a number of projects will ensue from that,” he stated.
He informed that the Ministry will be working with Mondo, a company that designs and installs tracks, as well as a number of other sporting agencies, including Vero, out of the United Kingdom.
“Vero is responsible for negotiating all the major contracts for world sporting activities such the Olympics in London for 2012, the Olympics for Brazil in 2016 and also the World Cup staging in Johannesburg for 2010. They will be coming to Jamaica in another few weeks to work with us in terms of structuring the whole programme for the first ever beach sprint,” the Tourism Minister noted.
In other matters coming out of Cabinet, approval was given for the award of a $260,433,801.47 contract to HDB Construction Limited, for the construction of a 630-pupil replacement school for the Red Hills All-age School, St. Andrew, under the Primary Education Support Project.
In addition, a contract valued at US$401,676 was awarded to DiaMed-Caribbean Inc. for the procurement of reagents for the National Laboratory Services, for a period of one year.