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Jamaica is leading digital transformation in tourism, says Bartlett

Jamaica is leading digital transformation in tourism, says Bartlett

Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says his Ministry is creating the framework to make Jamaica a smart destination. He further noted that this has made the country a leading destination for adapting to and creating solutions for the digital transformation that is happening globally in the industry.

Jamaica’s Tourism sector, recently concluded celebrations for Tourism Awareness Week, under the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) theme for World Tourism Day, September 27th – ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation.

“The theme for Tourism Awareness Week this year speaks to the digital transformation taking place in Tourism. I am humbled by the fact that many other nations have not only noticed what we have been doing but have been using many of our initiatives as a model which they can use in their own countries. The Linkages framework in particular, has broken down the passion points of our visitors and created innovative and technologically-driven initiatives to better meet their unique interests,” said Minister Bartlett.

The Minister noted that the UNWTO selected theme, was important because more industry professionals need to utilise technology to their advantage rather than fear it’s potentially disruptive impact.

Jamaica Vacations Ltd.’s Manager of Cruise Tourism, Francine Haughton, explains the functions of the ‘Happy or Not’ digital monitor, to Tourism Action Club members during the World Tourism Day Forum held on September 27, 2018 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

“New technology trends are having a profound impact on the travel landscape and are adding value to the way things have always been done. With digital technology putting the world’s destinations at everybody’s fingertips, the competitiveness of tourism economies will depend on their ability to leverage this technology to their advantage.

It is creating a level of transparency that the world has never seen before. In Nano Time we are able to get important feedback from our visitors that can help us to improve, grow and earn more. This invaluable data is driving the demographic profile of the market, which is a huge tool to drive decision making” Bartlett said.

He noted that his Ministry has used Tourism Awareness Week, which began on Sunday September 23, to highlight some of the important initiatives his ministry has developed to leverage technology.

“Our Tourism Linkages Network has created a Taste Jamaica Mobile App that provides access from anywhere in the world to our food hot spots, culinary trails and food focused events. At the same time, it is promoting restaurants and food establishments across Jamaica. The Network has also introduced an Agri-Links Exchange Initiative (ALEX) online platform, which is facilitating the purchase and exchange of goods between farmers and buyers within the local hotel sector,” said Bartlett.

He also shared that the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has a new fully-integrated, multi-lingual, which is changing the way Destination Jamaica is communicating with the world. The web-portal is part of the JTB’s overall strategy to compete in the ever-changing global marketplace as well as to re-engineer its methods of marketing and promoting Jamaica as a destination.

“I think perhaps my favourite feature of this new website is that it provides real-time access and content to tour operators and travel agents globally allowing them to be more efficient in selling Jamaica. This will allow our smaller entities in tourism to benefit directly,” said the Minister.

During Tourism Awareness Week, the Ministry and its agencies engaged the youth by creating a digital marketing contest, as well as hosting a forum on technology in tourism – both of which were exclusive for members of the JTB-run Tourism Action Club.

Additionally, the Ministry formally introduced the country to the new “Happy or Not” digital monitor devices which have been placed at cruise ports to monitor the visitors experience in real-time. The monitor is a simple tool that uses globally-recognized emojis to capture satisfaction levels.

“We can use this data to pinpoint issues, uncover causes with ease, and make improvement actions that can be measured and verified. It also allows for immediate action that can be made sometimes even before the ship sails or shortly thereafter,” explained the Minister.

Minister Bartlett is currently in London, with Director of Tourism Donovan White, attending the JTB’s Jamaica Travel Market. They will use the opportunity to meet with top tour operators in the United Kingdom to share exciting resort developments and new offerings in Jamaica. The Minister is expected to return to the island on September 30, 2018.