Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has said that social media networks like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, have become an integral part of the country’s tourism marketing strategy.
Speaking on Sunday (September 19), during a panel discussion on the first day of the 2010 World Routes Development Forum in Vancouver, Canada, Minister Bartlett said that social media is not a fad and it is “here to stay.”
“Social media has demonstrated that it is a strong way to connect with the potential traveller. It has grown considerably over the years and has become an integral part of the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) marketing strategy,” he stated.
According to Minister Bartlett, the use of two Twitter accounts, @visitjamaicanow and @askjamaica; a Facebook page; and three channels on YouTube – MyJamaica, AboutJamaica and VibesJamaica, have given Jamaica the chance to connect with different publics.
Minister of Tourism, Hon Ed Bartlett, is in discussion with Deputy Secretary of Planning with Tourism Mexico, Jacqueline Arzoz Padres, on September 19 session of the 2010 World Routes Convention now underway in Vancouver, Canada.
“The @visitjamaicanow account focuses on up-to-the-minute updates on special events and product enhancements, has almost 1,300 followers and is on 118 lists. The @askjamaica account encourages even more dialogue with potential travellers, has over 1,000 followers and is on 95 lists. On Facebook, we have created a conversational community and 90,000 individuals say they ‘like’ Jamaica,” he informed.
YouTube, added the Minister, has given Jamaica the chance to visually display the beauty and diversity of the destination and the possibilities for future uploads are endless.
The panel discussion, which also included representatives from Mexico, Canada and countries in Europe, focused on social media as the future of tourism marketing.
The World Routes Development Forum from September 19 to 21, is the largest gathering of airlines and aviation partners worldwide. This is the first time the Convention is being held in North America and Minister Bartlett said it is important that Jamaica is represented.
“This conference is an important crossroads in looking at where the aviation industry is going, to see what new routes will be announced and to have discussions with some of the airlines as to their interest in coming to Jamaica and how we can partner to increase airlifts into Jamaica,” he said.
Meetings will be held with approximately 10 airlines and Minister Bartlett is especially hopeful about the discussions with South American carriers, COPA and Gol.
Accompanying the Minister to the three-day meeting are: Tourism Director and Chairman of the JTB, John Lynch; Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), Lionel Reid; and JTB’s Regional Manager, Sandra Scott.
Other Jamaican interests present at World Routes are President of the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), Earl Richards; Vice-President of Commercial Development and Marketing at AAJ, Mark Williams; and Chief Executive Officer of Montego Bay Jamaica (MBJ) Airports Limited, Fernando Bosque.