Mastercard launches Travel and Tourism Initiative
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Mastercard has announced a number of partnerships aimed primarily at the tourism sector, a move which local stakeholders have hailed as a vote of confidence in the industry.
The soft launch of the Mastercard Travel & Tourism Initiative was held at Bob Marley’s One Love restaurant at Sangster International Airport (SIA) last Tuesday. The newly opened eatery is one of three enterprises whose partnerships with Mastercard were announced during the event. The others are Club MoBay, the VIP lounge at SIA that is itself a tourist attraction; along with Bijoux, which retails duty and tax-free luxury watches and jewellery at the airport; and Main Street Rose Hall.
Executive director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Dr Carey Wallace was among those in attendance during the launch.
“One of the things that credit and debit cards do is that they provide a kind of convenience and when you have established brands like Mastercard that is known internationally… strengthening its position in Jamaica, it makes the visitor from far away have a lot more confidence in doing transactions,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“We feel as though it is a show of confidence in Jamaica as a destination and thankfully we are expanding, we’re growing as a tourism destination…If we can do more, then we can get even more visitors and more spend in the towns and communities and resort towns of Jamaica,” he added.
Under the partnerships, Mastercard’s suite of products and services — such as digital payment — will make it easier for travellers and locals to do business. For example, visitors who hold black and platinum cards will have access to luxury cars as they travel between their hotels and Main Street.
Country manager for Mastercard in Jamaica, Dalton Fowles said the Travel & Tourism Initiative is recognition of the sector’s potential.
“You heard earlier that the estimate for this year is 5.3 million visitors to the island and we want when they come here we are having offers so that they will always choose Mastercard as the preferable card,” he said.
“I think it’s one of those investments that you make that you realise is mutually beneficial. Jamaica has a really fantastic tourism product, customers are travelling globally, they are big on experiences and Jamaica offers a lot of that,” he added.
Fowles anticipates that the move will benefit the overall industry, especially smaller players.
“It’s a reinvestment as well in the local economy, local businesses. Lots of small businesses benefit from tourism. It drives our economy in a significant way and it’s important for us to demonstrate that we are really here as a partner to the people and the Government of this country,” he said.
Club MoBay CEO Shelly-Ann Fung-King said the move will enhance the experience that they try to provide to customers.
“We found that with Mastercard, everything for them is about experiences, it’s about memories,” she said.
“It’s about the cultural components of it, the people components of it and Mastercard mirrors — that, which is one of the reasons why this particular partnership is so important to us,” she added.
An enthusiastic Dr Wallace described the initiative as a major move by Mastercard.
“I think that’s the big statement that is being made today, that they’ve been here already but this is establishing their footprint even deeper into Jamaica by investing in this airport lounge and by the programmes they are launching here in Jamaica,” he said.