Local Hoteliers Urged to Market Product Effectively


President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Horace Peterkin has said that as the tourism industry worldwide becomes increasingly competitive, local hoteliers and other suppliers must market their product effectively, in order to get “their fair share of business.”
Mr. Peterkin gave the charge to tourism stakeholders at the opening of Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) 2007, at the newly refurbished Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, yesterday (April 29).
Approximately 300 suppliers and 90 buyers are expected to conduct business at the event.
Pointing to a number of recent challenges in the marketplace, including the introduction of “the US passport regime and the slowing down of the US economy,” the President remained upbeat about the future prospects for Jamaica.
“When I look around at the numerous committed buyers and sellers at JAPEX, I feel quite confident about the future,” he said.
With the support of the Jamaica Tourist Board and other agencies within Government, Mr. Peterkin assured overseas tour operators of the JHTA’s commitment “to providing the best accommodation, the best service and hospitality to your clients.”
He urged overseas tour operators and travel agents to conduct serious business during the trade show. “Inspect as many hotels as you can; explore as many attractions as you can; check out our duty free shopping and craft villages.The point is, just don’t leave Jamaica without discovering first hand what we have to offer,” he stressed.
Director of Tourism (JTB), Basil Smith expressed confidence about the future of the industry. In an interview with JIS news, Mr. Smith said that as a result of the on-going work of the JTB to diversify the market, he was positive that visitor arrivals would improve.
“Although we’ve been down for the first 3 months of the year, summer is improving and the fall bookings are looking much better, so things are looking a little more encouraging. From Jamaica’s point of view, we also enjoy the additional comfort of having successfully penetrated other markets with great success,” he said.
In terms of tackling the US passport issue, Mr. Smith said the JTB was modifying its marketing strategy, to ensure that Jamaica, as a destination, offered what Americans with passports wanted.
During the period January to February, Jamaica saw an 11.9 per cent decrease in visitor arrivals from the United States.

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