TPDCo Continues to Focus on Competitiveness of Tourism Product


Executive Director for the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Karen Ford-Warren has said that as a facilitator of change in the tourism sector, the Company stands ready to work to ensure that the product retains its competitive differentiation.
“The Tourism Master Plan speaks generally to the enhancing of the visitor experience, developing and diversifying the tourism product and facilitating the sustainability. The Tourism Product Development Company is one of the agencies under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Entertainment, and Culture given the mandate to make these deliverables a reality,” Mrs. Warren said.
Mrs. Warren was speaking at the Accommodation Sub-Sector Seminar, which was recently held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, under the theme ‘Remaining Competitive in a Global Environment’.
“Specific areas that TPDCo operates in that encourages the product to be competitive, include facilitating and monitoring of quality standards leading to compliance, whether in health, safety or security, by entities in the tourism marketplace,” she said, noting that the development of the product to enhance the visitor experience was one area of impact for TPDCo.
Another area of input, she added, is resort upgrading, explaining that the programme saw to the branding of a resort by its unique features and also embodied lifting the aesthetic quality of the resort areas through beautification projects and mobilizing of communities to become more involved as stakeholders in the towns’ development and sustainability. “Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios have been selected for the first round of upgrading under the programme,” she informed, pointing out that the programme would foster a high level of stakeholder consultation.
She further stated that craft development was currently undergoing a “face-lift” and that the improvements would involve the rehabilitation of the physical infrastructure of the craft markets and the deployment of newly trained craft vendors, equipped with skills in sales, merchandising, and new craft production techniques.
“There is a drive afoot to align Jamaican craft with events and activities, to bring synergy to its rebirth of a new and diversified craft product. The craft markets are to become experiential by design, with each craft market having its own theme and ‘feel’,” she said.
In maintaining a competitive advantage, Mrs. Warren said that the reviewing and upgrading of the tourism product to satisfy the needs of visitors and locals alike had to be constant and consistent, pointing out that standards should be kept high, creative options be readily available, and marketing thrusts should be “focused and lean”.
“We must be proactive in orientation-setting the trends, not following the trends. At the end of the day the visitor experience must create emotional appeal and intellectual trust.
The Jamaican brand must offer something that is valuable and important. We all have the charge as brand ambassadors to make this vision a reality,” she said.

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