JIS News

Work is to begin shortly on the construction of a website for the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), that is consistent with the agency’s marketing thrust.
Speaking at a press briefing held at Jamaica House on February 13, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett informed that the US$280,000 contract, was awarded to a United States company, DRAFTFCB, for the “design and development of a website that reflects the layout and branding of a leading destination marketing website.”The scope of work include: selection of sites and sub-site themes; effective integration of advertising and public relations campaign; the design and customization of appropriate modules that can book, using vacation or resort themes; visitor engagement modules, including those for surveys, calendars, blogs, and syndication services.
Mr. Bartlett said the contractor would implement effective search engine optimization features, for site and site content and to recommend and guide the preparation of appropriate creative materials for each module.
Knowledge transfer sessions are also to be conducted for JTB technical and marketing support staff in the areas of hardware, operating system and database; code structure and maintenance; content submission and approval process; site statistics collection and analysis techniques; joint project management services; design phases; development phases; implementation phases; and initial post-implementation and support phases.
Noting that work is scheduled for commencement shortly, Minister Bartlett said, “this is important to us, because we have to support all our stakeholders, particularly our smaller stakeholders, in providing a powerful marketing engine that can drive bookings for them, and can give the market an excellent perspective on their properties, and the features that they have. So this website will have all the modern technological features.”
Director Tourism, Basil Smith pointed out that 60 per cent of shopping for travel was now done online, as well as 40 per cent of active booking. “In short order, that percentage of active booking is expected to reach 60 per cent. We must emphasize that there remains a place for the retail travel agent,” he said.He said the current JTB website has some shortcomings and there was a need to simplify access to information on the site, and provide easier navigation, as well as increase the ability to interface with the more contemporary technologies. “At the same time, there are features in the existing site which are redeemable.I must emphasize though, that what we are doing is completely replacing, not rebuilding or rehabilitating, the existing site,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Minister said he was proud of the JTB’s ongoing marketing drive. “We went into new and interesting media avenues. Traditionally we have not maximized our position utilizing cable, and so we went heavily into cable,” he pointed out, noting that advertisements were being seen in South America, the entire United States, and Asia. “What that gives us is a greater depth in terms of our reach into the interior of the marketplace,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett said this visibility has allowed for greater possibility of agreements with airlines for flights from critical hubs, which before now, did not have flights originating in those areas to Jamaica, as there were not enough visitors to make it feasible for airlines to fly from those places to the island.

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