New Tactics to Maintain JA’s Preferred Tourism Status


Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has said he will be implementing new and intense marketing tactics and networking strategies, in order to maintain Jamaica’s position as a preferred Caribbean destination, for the new fiscal year.
He argued that the way forward must involve a new paradigm, new business models and a new architecture, if the country is to stay on top.
Delivering his contribution to the 2010/11 Budget Debate in the House Representatives Wednesday (April 14), Mr. Bartlett said it was critical for Jamaica to recognise that the global tourism market has shifted significantly over the years.
“The growing commoditisation of tourism has created a global competitiveness which challenges our historic understanding of the industry. Jamaica, which previously had an enclave industry perspective, suddenly finds it has to compete in a global marketplace on price point and value,” he said.
He also argued that, for the first time, the United States is now marketing itself as a destination competing with Jamaica.
“Our product is put up against all other products in the world, in the same way that our bananas had to compete with all the other bananas in the world. We now have to reconfigure our business model to deal with these new realities. The challenge we face is how to make the adjustment,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He added that, in moving forward, there is need for a reconfiguration of the business model, more efficient operations, better utilisation of energy, better use of human capital and investments in green technologies.
“It calls for moving into non-traditional markets and driving legacy markets more strategically. It calls for utilising information technology and social marketing,” Mr. Bartlett told the House.
He said there was a growing inter-dependence in the industry as distributors, like travel agents, and suppliers, like airlines, were all linked. He said it has, therefore, become necessary for destinations to participate in multi-destination marketing efforts.
“For example, we are currently working on a relationship between ourselves and Cuba and we are collaborating with travel agencies and tour operators to bring more visitors to Jamaica. “Specifically, we are currently structuring an arrangement with TUI to deliver 33,000 German visitors over a three year period.”
He said similar discussions are also being held with other global travel power houses, including Thomas Cooke.
The Minister further said, in the coming year, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) will make greater use of technology and the Internet, as important vehicles in the execution of its marketing plan to increase bookings. To this end, the JTB has embarked on a comprehensive online marketing strategy.
“In addition to redesigning the website, www.visitjamaica.com, the official travel site for Jamaica, the JTB has also embarked on an aggressive use of social media aimed at engaging, educating and captivating travellers online,” he stated.
He said plans were underway to further expand Jamaica’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as reaching travellers through their smart phones.

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