Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has issued an open call for budding entrepreneurs to submit ideas that can positively transform Jamaica’s tourism industry, to the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s Tourism Innovation Incubator by October 14.
The Minister made the call on Friday at the University of the West Indies’ Regional Headquarters, during the launch of the Ministry of Tourism’s Tourism Innovation Incubator, which will nurture new and start-up tourism enterprises. The aim is that these start-ups will take Jamaica’s tourism to a new level in fulfilment of the Ministry of Tourism’s Blue Ocean Strategy.
"We are very excited to launch our Tourism Innovation Incubator today (Friday) and look forward to seeing 25 unique ideas in this first round that can add value to our industry. So, we urge you to get your ideas ready and submit them by October 14 and take a journey with us to strengthen our tourism offerings," said Bartlett.
He added that "This initiative is very important to us because it is in keeping with our Blue Ocean Strategy, which will give us a comparative advantage in the marketplace. For us to sustain the industry in the face of increased competition, we must market and promote Jamaica as an unmatched travel option and the Caribbean destination of choice for tourists. This requires us to not only rebuild stronger, but also to focus on our competitive advantages in the tourism value chain. "
The Tourism Innovation Incubator is being managed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, through its Research and Risk Management Department. It is being executed with the assistance of partners such as the University of Technology's Technology Innovation Centre and the Founder Institute. As well as members of the Tourism Incubator Task Force, which includes representatives from the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank), Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, University of Technology, Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre, Tech Beach Retreat, and the University of the West Indies.
Selection of the ideas is being done by a committee of members from TEF and the Development Bank of Jamaica. In addition to being tourism products or representing technology in tourism, each idea must be an innovation or invention that will add value. Each participant will be required to outline how their idea will add value to the tourism landscape and provide indicators for measuring the same, such as tourism spend, visitor satisfaction, and contribution to the tourism workforce, etc. The idea must also have a significant effect on the tourism industry.
“The establishment of the Tourism Innovation Incubator represents a significant pivot in the way the TEF enhances the tourism sector and signals a change in risk appetite. The TEF now has a mechanism to transform innovative ideas into commercial opportunities. We do anticipate a positive response to this exciting initiative, knowing fully well that for tourism to work, we must all feel like we are a part of it. It’s a must that we strive for inclusiveness and for the betterment of our people,” said Bartlett.
Additional submission criteria and application forms for the Tourism Innovation Incubator can be found on the TEF’s website at https://tef.gov.jm/tourism-incubator/.