The thirteenth hosting of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX), moved into the third and final day with a highlight of the activities being the launch of the Jamaica Tourist Boardå‘s new website, www visitjamaica.com
Director of Tourism, Mr. Paul Pennicook used the opportunity of the annual Travel Agents’ Day at this, island’s most important tourism trade show, to demonstrate the features of the website which is expected to attract considerable attention from both the travel trade and consumers.
Addressing well over 100 travel agents as well as several hundred buyer and supplier delegates at this year’s show, Pennicook said that the website would provide new momentum for the JAMAICA
The site, he said, represented a tremendous marketing opportunity that, if optimized, would be of immense value to travel agents, tour operators, hotels, attractions, transportation companies, restaurants, retail shops and other tourism stakeholders.
“The bottom line,” stated Pennicook, who was appointed Director of Tourism in March this year, “is that visitjamaica.com will sell Jamaica by serving the business needs of all participants and partners in the Jamaican tourist industry.”
He pointed out that there was daily rotation of images and features exposing the diversity of the Jamaican tourism product and affording a new experience with each visit to the site.
The site boasts some ten marketing themes covering the spectrum of likely areas of interest. These include beaches, heritage, adventure, golf, groups and meetings, weddings and honeymoons.
There are also several mini-sites which target specific market segments such as cruise passengers and Jamaicans who are resident overseas.
In giving an update on the industry’s performance, the Director of Tourism reiterated that the island had enjoyed a good winter season. Preliminary stopover arrivals for January to April of this year were 452,140, an increase of approximately 7% over 2002. All market regions in the United States showed increases of between 6 and 13 per cent and Canada was up 4%.
It was reported that the United Kingdom and the European Continent also turned in some good performances. In January, for example, the United Kingdom and Germany increased by 15% and 32% respectively and all the main European country markets recorded increases.
The period also saw cruise arrivals increasing by approximately 46% with 472,052 arrivals. Montego Bay in particular enjoyed a 122% increase in cruise visitors with 154,992 recorded during this period.
Internationally, tourism has been going through tough times, Pennicook said. However, Jamaica had been among the destinations that had managed to set itself on a path to recovery. Marketing plans to maintain this momentum, he said, included a new and exciting multi-faceted campaign that would utilize a wide spectrum of print and electronic media supported by sales blitzes, promotions and travel agent fly-ins to the island.
The JTB, he said would be targeting niche markets both in respect of hard advertising and events marketing. Areas of emphasis, he said, included bridal and honeymoon in which the island consistently ranked among the top destinations, the luxury/upscale market, sports - particularly golf and the area of groups, conventions and incentive travel.