Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has underscored the need for tourism interests around the world to embrace and leverage a new smart tourism model, to ensure the success of the industry in the post-COVID-19 era. This as Minister Bartlett continues to make his mark as a thought leader in the international tourism community, with his participation recently in another major international webinar – the SAHIC Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference.
Minister Bartlett said: “In the long-term, this crisis presents us with an opportunity to harness the potential of digitalization to drive new tourism experiences.
“In the absence of physical travelling experiences, millions
of people in quarantine have been seeking out cultural and travel experiences
from their homes.”
He added that “rapid digitalization coupled with emerging
technologies, such as virtual and augmented realities, can create new forms of
cultural experiences, dissemination and new business models with market
Mr. Bartlett highlighted that the international community
can expect to see the growth of smart tourism, with more destinations
increasing the production of visitation data, such as tourists’ time spent at
attractions, which will aid in crowd management – which he believes is an
essential factor in a post-COVID-19 world.
“Smart tourism can be helpful in promoting social distancing
by focusing on controlling human traffic to major tourist sites like a museum,
a cathedral or a public park, as we seek to maintain the quality of visitors’
experiences,” said the Minister.
Bartlett also shared the strategies employed locally that
have been impactful, such as the ‘Rediscover Jamaica’ campaign, as well as the
health and safety protocols created by the Ministry of Tourism and its agencies
working in collaboration with industry partners and other government
“The Re-discover Jamaica initiative has received tremendously positive reception from local residents, with some hotels reporting 50%-60% reservations from locals,” the Jamaica Tourism Minister explained.
“As we look to the future, the gap in seasonal downturns in
international tourist arrivals and volatility in the global tourism market can
be offset by sustaining these staycation packages that target local residents
who have traditionally felt excluded from higher-priced all-inclusive vacation
packages that are designed to attract international tourists,” the Minister
SAHIC is a two-day virtual event focusing on Latin America
and the Caribbean, which featured 9 hours of networking opportunities with key
players and strategic sessions with prominent members of the hotel investment
Other government speakers included, Hon. Ivan Eskildsen,
Minister of Tourism for Panama, and Hon. Gustavo J. Segura, Minister of Tourism
for Costa Rica, in regional discussions. Additional speakers included Gloria
Guevara Manzo, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC);
Brian King, President, Caribbean & Latin America, Marriott International;
and Rogerio Basso, Head of Tourism, IDB Invest.
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