First Look

New Architecture to meet Tourism Demands

Ministry of Tourism | 2018-05-16 15:47:00

The Ministry of Tourism has restructured some of its key agencies to meet changing demands of the global tourism markets.

Outlining “a new architecture to meet tourism demands,” in his 2018 Sectoral presentation to Parliament recently, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett said  the ministry recognized the importance of linkages and the more critical impact of the supply side of the industry.

Explaining the emerging new architecture in the industry, Minister Bartlett said tourism was becoming much like commodities, driven by price and demand, and in some instances price and value. He said new business models were emerging “that change the way in which we do business normally.”

Noting that there was a high level of integration, he said the Tourism Ministry recognized that putting in place the infrastructure required to meet the changing demands of tourists was required “to enable cost effectiveness and competitive pricing.”

Among the agencies that have undergone changes is the Jamaica Tourist Board which has been re-engineered and will change its methods of marketing and promoting of ‘Destination Jamaica’, to meet the needs of emerging tourism source markets globally.

Minister Bartlett said to compete in the new global marketplace, the JTB’s number one strategy would be development of a new, fully integrated website revolving on a single axis and providing non-stop global access to the destination. It will be integrated with Google and eventually linked into Airbnb’s platform with four million members.
The new website will host and promote all aspects of the destination and provide real time access and content to tour more than 50,000 travel agents globally allowing for more efficiency in selling Jamaica. “We will be able to perform, manage and incentivize them remotely to maximize our room and airline capacity,” and get more value from advertising and promotions, he noted.
Also changing focus after 14 years is the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). In keeping with changes in global tourism, Mr. Bartlett said there was a need to reposition and diversify tourism products to make them more innovative and attractive to tourists. Consequently, as of April 1 this year, the TEF business model was restructured to focus on developing innovative projects and enabling iconic attractions across the island.
Since its inception, TEF has been focusing largely on projects and Minister Bartlett gave an assurance that it would continue its role of ensuring destination enhancement by building out the physical infrastructure.
However, going forward, TEF would be providing entrepreneurs, particularly those interested in small and medium tourism enterprises, with information to modify their business models as needed, to adapt to new trends in the industry and by extension keep their businesses afloat.

TEF is also being expanded to include new divisions such as the Tourism Linkages Network, the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI) and the Craft Development Institute.

A third major shift in the restructuring of the Tourism Ministry, has been the inclusion of cruise to the portfolio of Jamaica Vacations (JamVac) to create better relationships with cruise lines and include shore experience personnel.

Minister Bartlett said JamVac was now positioned to have greater monitoring of the shore experience to ensure early response to challenges while working with agencies such as the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and local stakeholders to remedy any challenges. He reported that JamVac had been influential in ensuring that the perceived harassment at ports was minimized along with help of government and private stakeholders.

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