Tourism minister highlights the importance of technology

Sean Oulashin Kmn4veeepr8 Unsplash
A beach. Photo courtesy of Sean Oulashin.

Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett has underscored the importance of technology in growing the tourism sector. Speaking at the Tech Beach Retreat held recently at the Iberostar Resort in Lilliput, St James, Bartlett said the Ministry and its public bodies have been prioritizing technology, as a key part of its marketing strategy. “[We] have made innovation an essential element of our agenda to enhance the sector’s competitiveness. We have introduced applications that have made it easier for local producers to market and distribute their products and increase their customer base, while at the same time, making it easier for stakeholders to access market…share information and build trading partnerships,” Bartlett said.

The minister said that at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the ministry, and its public bodies, found creative ways to adjust to the decline in tourist arrivals. “When most international borders closed, the Jamaica Tourism Board (JTB) quickly sprang into action by developing several campaigns and digital content series,” Bartlett said. “We introduced virtual tours of Jamaica…that provided visual inspiration to travellers to add Jamaica to their itineraries, by showing short tours of destination hotspots such as Dunn’s River Falls in St Ann, Blue Lagoon in Portland, Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Exploring Montego Bay, and the Rustic Luxury of the South Coast,” he added.

The tourism minister reported that the Jamaica Tourist Board had added a new feature to its platform, with the launch of the ‘My Heartbeats JA’ microsite, which allows visitors to book their wedding, honeymoon, or romantic getaways.

The tourism minister said Jamaica had forged ahead and hosted other signature events in 2020 such as the Christmas in July Trade Show, Style Jamaica Shopping Showcase, the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, Jamaica Health and Wellness Tourism Conference, Spa Standards Sensitization Workshops, the Jamaica Rum Festival, and the Speed Networking event – using virtual formats. “Overall, the trend towards a digital marketplace in the tourism sector is also poised to intensify post-COVID-19,” Bartlett stated.

He noted that most travel and tourism-related businesses, including destination research, booking, and paying for experiences during a vacation, will be done virtually, “The trend thus instructs all tourism enterprises, micro, small, medium-sized, and large, to find ways to embrace digital technologies and develop their digital architectures or face the risk of being left behind”.

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