Jamaica being positioned as a smart destination – Bartlett

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica is being positioned as a smart destination through the use of digital platforms to strategise marketing, connect with various stakeholders and meet the demands of a growing number of visitors.

“Digital platforms have created a seismic shift in how the world receives, shares and uses content, and they are more influential than they have ever been in informing travel decisions. For Jamaica, this presents a significant marketing opportunity to engage these active users and reach a larger segment of the travel market,” he said.

Bartlett was giving the keynote address at the opening of the Global Digital Marketing Summit 2018, being held from July 11 to 13 at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston.

Noting that the millennial generation is pushing many of the new trends in travel and tourism, Bartlett said the Government has been using information and communications technology (ICT) to build a sustainable tourism sector while providing personalised responses to the needs of visitors.

Recent initiatives include development of mobile applications (apps) such as Taste Jamaica and a microsite to connect persons from anywhere in the world with local food hotspots, culinary trails and food-focused events.

There is also the Agri-linkages Exchange (ALEX) initiative, which is an online platform to connect farmers with buyers within the local hotel sector to facilitate the purchase of produce.

Another initiative to be rolled out shortly is a comprehensive website to provide multiple platforms for access by all players in the industry.

The minister hailed the Airbnb concept for helping to grow and diversify the country's tourism product by providing accommodation to meet the varied tastes of the increasing number of visitors to the island.

He said the programme is providing opportunities for many Jamaicans to profit from the industry.
Bartlett said tourism is a labour-intensive sector that directly employs over 117,000 locals while generating indirect jobs for another 300,000 persons.

One in five Jamaicans is engaged in linked sectors such as agriculture, the creative and cultural industries, entertainment, manufacturing, transportation, finance and insurance, electricity and water construction and other services.

“Tourism's marketability is not just about increasing visitor arrivals. It is about sustaining a critical industry that is the bedrock of national economic development and provides a livelihood for many Jamaicans. That is why it is so important for us to benefit from the development, growth and technological advancements that are key to driving these [industries],” the tourism minister said.

According to the ministry, Jamaica experienced a record-breaking year in tourism in 2017, welcoming 4.3 million visitors. This represented a 12.1 per cent increase in arrivals over 2016. The figure comprised 2.35 million stopover arrivals and 1.95 million cruise passengers. Revenue flow grew from US$2.5 billion in 2016 to approximately US$3 billion.

Creative Brands & Concepts Limited is collaborating with the India-based Texila American University to host the first Global Digital Marketing Summit in Jamaica.

The event is aimed at imparting digital marketing education to businesses of different sizes and sectors and providing meaningful strategies and methods for achieving success in the market.

The conference is being hosted simultaneously in over 80 other countries that will be connecting with Jamaican experts on one global stage.

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