Na­tional Com­mu­nity Tourism Por­tal of­fi­cially launched

Jamaica Gleaner - - HOSPITALITY JAM -

AS THE Min­istry of Tourism cel­e­brated Tourism Aware­ness Week, of­fi­cials from the min­istry, its agen­cies, as well as tourism part­ners, par­tic­i­pated in the of­fi­cial launch of the Na­tional Com­mu­nity Tourism Por­tal at Kingston’s iconic at­trac­tion Devon House.

“It is fit­ting that the por­tal is be­ing launched dur­ing Tourism Aware­ness Week, which, this year, is be­ing ob­served un­der the theme ‘Tourism for All: Pro­mot­ing Univer­sal Ac­ces­si­bil­ity’ as it un­der­scores our com­mit­ment to broaden tourism’s reach to pos­i­tively im­pact the lives of as many Ja­maicans as pos­si­ble,” said Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Tourism Jen­nifer Grif­fith.

She em­pha­sised that “through com­mu­nity-based tourism, the sec­tor will be ac­ces­si­ble to more Ja­maicans and de­liver greater eco­nomic ben­e­fits to a larger per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion, par­tic­u­larly at the grass-roots level”.

The por­tal forms part of the Gov­ern­ment’s US$15 mil­lion Ru­ral Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ini­tia­tive pro­ject, which is be­ing im­ple­mented by the Ja­maica So­cial In­vest­ment Fund (JSIF), with fund­ing from the World Bank.

“On the com­mu­nity tourism side, $250 mil­lion has been in­vested. This is a part of the di­rect strat­egy to have both the Min­istry of Tourism and JSIF re­ally look at this busi­ness of com­mu­nity tourism head-to-head. What that means is di­rect as­sis­tance for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, ca­pac­i­ty­build­ing in­fra­struc­ture, and the up­grad­ing of 11 com­mu­nity tourism en­ter­prises,” said JSIF’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Omar Sweeney.

TOURISM HUB

The Na­tional Com­mu­nity Tourism Por­tal will act as a hub that supports com­mu­nity-based tourism in all its forms. A book­ing en­gine has also been in­te­grated to not only give ven­dors ad­di­tional ex­po­sure, but to also pro­vide a means for the tar­get mar­ket to con­ve­niently pro­cure the ser­vices of the tourism en­ti­ties from the site.

“This por­tal is an ex­cel­lent mar­ket­ing tool which will help lo­cal com­mu­nity-based tourism en­ter­prises keep pace with the com­pe­ti­tion by build­ing aware­ness of com­mu­nity tourism in Ja­maica; pro­vid­ing com­pre­hen­sive and en­gag­ing in­for­ma­tion on Ja­maica’s com­mu­nity tourism prod­uct; pro­vid­ing an easy means for mak­ing com­mu­nity tourism book­ings; and pro­vid­ing Com­mu­ni­ty­Based Tourism En­ter­prises (CBTEs) with af­ford­able and cost ef­fec­tive emar­ket­ing ser­vices,” said Grif­fith.

The JSIF is cur­rently en­gaged in a three-year pro­gramme with the Tourism Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment Com­pany (TPDCo) to es­tab­lish the por­tal and con­duct mar­ket-ready de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing for CBTEs, with the as­sis­tance of the Ja­maica Tourist Board, which will mar­ket the com­mu­nity tourism brand. As of June 30, 2017, TPDCo will be charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity to fully over­see the op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance of the por­tal.

“The in­tro­duc­tion of this por­tal is a move in the right di­rec­tion. It will pro­vide quick turn-around time for pay­ment to the op­er­a­tors; a clear and com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy on can­cel­la­tions, thereby pro­tect­ing the vendor; multi-lan­guage sup­port for all ma­jor tourism mar­kets; and mar­ket­ing sup­port to in­crease busi­ness and drive traf­fic to the por­tal,” added TPDCo’s act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Joy Roberts.

To ac­cess the por­tal, the pub­lic is be­ing in­vited to log on to http://www.more­to­ja­maica.com/.

CONTRIBUTED

Ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy at Green Team Global Hank Ste­wart (right) demon­strates the spe­cial fea­tures of the Na­tional Com­mu­nity Tourism Por­tal, which was of­fi­cially launched at Devon House on Septem­ber 28, 2016. Pay­ing keen at­ten­tion are Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Tourism Jen­nifer Grif­fith (left) and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of the Ja­maica So­cial In­vest­ment Fund Omar Sweeney.

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