Tourism sector needs more technology — Bartlett

Monday, July 17, 2017

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Ministry of Tourism, through its Linkages Network, is encouraging stakeholders in the tourism sector to make greater use of technology to enhance guest experience.

The recommendation came from tourism minister Edmund Bartlett last week Thursday at a forum that discussed and demonstrated some of the latest technological trends globally being employed in the hospitality industry.

The ministry, in partnership with telecoms company Digicel, hosted the forum entitled “Smart Destination Jamaica: A Preview of the Latest Technology in Tourism.”

The four-hour event, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, attracted nearly 350 participants from tourism and allied sectors. They were given a close insight by high-tech service providers HP Aruba, Avaya, Buddy and Digicel, into how managed technology can boost guest satisfaction and provide management with data-driven marketing tools, the ministry said.

Delivering the keynote address, Bartlett underscored the importance of technology as a driving force in knowledge and innovation, which have been changing the way in which business models were being conducted and “changing the way in which we understand things.”

He said the event was intended “to look at how the technologies have been impacting tourism and what it is going to mean for the architecture that will emerge in the tourism space.”

Regarding the use of Apps to benefit all sectors that support the tourist industry, Bartlett referred to the linkage with the agricultural sector as an example of what is being pursued and noted the intention to use funding support to provide assistance to the small farmers to be able to access an App so that connectivity can be achieved anywhere in Jamaica where there is supply.

Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Network, Adam Stewart, stressed that with 94 per cent of today's travellers requiring WiFi, this service must be seen as a must in all areas of a hotel. There was also consensus on the need to use information available on guests to improve the visitor experience and also increase both guestroom revenues and ancillary room revenue.

For instance, smart check-in, whereby on arrival at the hotel guests can go directly to their rooms and use their cell phones to gain entry and receive information about services.

The Knowledge Network is one of five networks implemented by the Ministry of Tourism to further diversify the island's tourism product and secure higher yields per visitor, while building a competitive industry and creating more jobs for Jamaicans.

The other networks are Gastronomy, Shopping, Sports and Entertainment and Health and Wellness.

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