He told JIS News in a recent interview that international travellers are becoming increasingly demanding and have higher expectations of the destinations they visit or plan to travel.
“International tourism trends are showing a shift from the traditional sun, sea and sand towards interactive experiential tourism, one of [the] fastest growing sub-sectors. What we are seeing now is an appeal to markets interested in gastronomy, nature, heritage and cultural experiences in the destinations they choose,” the Minister pointed out.
Against this background, Mr. Bartlett urged local business interests to prepare themselves to tap into these emergent markets which he described as “the future of global tourism”.
“The Ministry of Tourism is fully aware of the potential benefits that market segmentation and diversification can produce for the global competitiveness of our tourism sector. This is why we have already started to explore five emerging tourism models in – Gastronomy, Health and Wellness, Sports and Entertainment, Shopping, and Knowledge,” he stated.
Mr. Bartlett emphasised that Jamaica must aggressively target promising markets in South America, Europe, Asia, “and even promote more seriously the idea of intra-regional tourism”.
The Minister also cited the Caribbean Diaspora, which spans major source markets such as Canada, the United States and United Kingdom, as another option that should be targeted, noting that “we have to continue to encourage our expatriates to return home more often”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett said the future of Caribbean tourism arguably rests in economic convergence between complementary economies, noting that Jamaica has a major role to play in this regard.
He contended that the region needs to collectively explore the feasibility of multi-destination arrangements that will increase intra-regional tourist flows and promote mutual benefits for more destinations in the region.
“The countries of the north-western and south-eastern Caribbean are well positioned to embrace this new architecture as their geographic alignments are clear and all within an hour and a half by air or sea from each other. This will make it easier for island-hopping and experiential enrichment for the visitor,” the Minister added.
Mr. Bartlett said that in establishing a multi-destination model, “critical mass” will be created for large investments in hotels, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing.
He further noted that this will attract more small and medium-sized businesses into the market to provide more goods and services, while employing more people and enhancing value-added outputs for the economy, citing this as a “win-win for all”.
Mr. Bartlett assured that the Government “will continue to aggressively pursue a multi-destination marketing arrangement with Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic”.
Additionally, he said that as Jamaica continues to explore opportunities in multi-destination tourism, the country must also seek regional cooperation in related areas such as aviation and airlift strategies to move seamlessly across the region, visa facilitation, and access to each country, as well as pre-clearance arrangements.
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