MONTEGO BAY, November 22 Jamaica will chair the Commission of the Americas and will lead two meetings in 2015 leading up to the General Assembly later that year. This is the first time that an English-speaking Caribbean country will hold the position of Chairman of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO).
The announcement, while made official before, was also made at the 2014 Tourism Outlook Seminar held in Montego Bay, November 21 and 22. The theme was Tourism: Enhancing social and economic impact.
Among the impressive list of presenters, were Regional Director for the Americas, UNWTO, Carlos Vogeler whose presentation focused on basis for positioning tourism to foster stronger relationships and create growth in all areas of the sector.
The sessions primarily dealt with
- Brand Development and International Marketing
- Public and Private Sector Collaboration
- Keeping Step with the Evolving Traveller
- Opportunities for partnership with the Entertainment and Creative Industries
- The Management of Natural and Manmade Crises
The sessions were all handled by moderators and compiled a list of 15 experts from Jamaica, the Caribbean & Latin America and the United States
The messages surrounded the matters of sustainability, efficiency and competitiveness – all keys for success in the business of tourism today.
Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association President, Nicola Madden-Greig explained “the destination has to try to attract a new type of tourist, the do-it-yourself tourist, who can source their destinations and find the attractions they desire at the click of a button.” What that meant for a destination like Jamaica, she explained is “the industry must have its offerings available in places and platforms where these potential visitors are looking.”
Another common thread in all the presentations was the use of technology and access to technology. “Destinations must be willing to invest in technological tools to boost their competitiveness as the sun, sea and sand replication is becoming easier, but the experience is what counts,” this according to Co-Founder, Chief Brand Strategy and Principal, Rock Creek Strategic Marketing, Christopher Lester. He added that the destination must “create a new and exciting experience for the visitor.”
One of the most entertaining sessions was the one which looked at music, fashion, film and other areas which were an obvious advantage to Jamaica. The Minister of State in the Ministry of Entertainment and Tourism, Damion Crawford announced an ambassador programme which will be instituted to assist with the additional promotion of the destination.
It was noted that the entertainers already acted as ambassadors, but this initiative is geared at consolidating its efforts aimed at specific markets. Film Tourism was touted as an option; the planned Jamaica Film Festival for July 2015 in Kingston is intent on targeting travel and television media along with independent producers and distributors. The call for Jamaican scripts went out on November 17 and ends on December 2. Those scripts will form part of a pool to select up to five short films/documentaries for premiering at the Festival.
The Jamrock Summer – ’90 Days, 90 Ways’ – which will run from May 15 to August 15, is to highlight festivals to culinary activities, sporting activities and fashion shows along with a range of other entertainment activities. The feature which was launched in July is one “where people see Jamaica as a place they can escape for the winter so we are now pushing to promote Jamaica as a place where they can go and enjoy themselves during the summer,” said Minister Crawford.
The last session looked at natural and manmade crises and all the presenters were aware of how social media has impacted on the management of information globally.
The sessions were well attended by industry officials, related agencies along with tertiary-level students from institutions across the island.