By Dana Malcolm
#Jamaica, May 27, 2022 – Sun, sand and sea are no longer enough and Jamaica should know; said to be the Caribbean country with the highest bookings into Summer and with its tourism leaders continuously blazing trails and making bold global statements about its destination.
Carolyn McDonald-Riley Director of the Tourism Linkages Network at Tuesday’s Invest Turks and Caicos Economic Conference stood resolutely at the third installment of the Invest Turks and Caicos Agency Economic Conference and announced, ‘Caribbean countries must shake it up if they want to remain some of the most sought after tourist destinations worldwide.’
McDonald-Riley explained that tourism is being largely pushed by the younger generation who were traveling more, spending more and traveling longer and wanted “new authentic and customized experiences.”
With the advent of social media, newer niche destinations which can offer that are gaining more and more traction.
“Travelers now are more interested in connecting with places and people. They desire more memorable experiences that are intrinsically personal, engage their senses and leave long lasting impressions. The observations imply that Caribbean destinations may now need to revisit the whole notion of competitiveness.”
She explained that destinations that failed to differentiate themselves from others by developing tourism products that allow them to expand their appeal would likely be left behind in the changing market. She insisted that in the Caribbean, “There is an urgent need among us to prioritize strategies that will allow us to achieve greater segmentation and product diversification.”
She explained five strategies that Jamaica had used between 2017 to 2022 in an effort to snag 5 million arrivals, in 5 years, to earn 5 billion dollars. They included identifying new markets, developing new products, developing new partnerships, new investments and embarking on human resource development.
She insisted that it was time for students to not just leave school with academic skills, but experience and certification insisting that building human capital is what is key to a successful tourism industry.
She also stressed that developing passion points, which only our respective people could offer and that interested tourists in one country specifically would expand the appeal of the respective destinations and get locals involved in the tourism value chain.
This explained the veteran tourism advisor would help with the high level of ‘leakage’ in the Caribbean.
Leakage is the revenue lost because of how much of the goods associated with tourism are imported McDonald-Riley explained, noting that the Caribbean has about 80 percent leakage.
“This means that for every dollar spent by foreign tourists 80 is lost to the importation of goods.”
Increasing the consumption of local goods is the way to lower this number and keep more money in the islands. She noted that agriculture and gastronomy were two surefire ways to do so, mentioning kite festivals and regattas as marketable events.
“The ability of the country to provide through local and indigenous processes determines the wealth gain from the industry, it could be the bed that they sleep in, do we manufacture it? The products that they use, the transport, this is an opportunity for us to earn a part of tourism.”
The event was held to a cozy but vested audience at the Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, and deemed a strategical success as it welcomed country leaders including Hon Washington Misick, TCI Premier and Anya Williams, TCI Deputy Governor.
US Milestone Celebrated
#Jamaica, June 30, 2022 – This year marks the United States of America’s (USA) 246th anniversary of Independence, and the milestone was celebrated with a reception on June 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. The event also featured the traditional United States Marine Corps Colour Guard ceremony.
“The Government of Jamaica is pleased to join in commemorating this milestone with our American friends and partners. Today we celebrate a nation that continues to give practical meaning to the declaration of Independence and the vision of the founding fathers for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These tenets have been central to the growth and development of the Union since 1776 and its transformation as a global leader,” he said.
For his part, US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, said the countries’ partnership has been rewarding, and expressed the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening the cooperation between the nations.
“On behalf of the United States Mission to Jamaica, thank you for joining us as we celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. As we celebrate America’s independence, we also celebrate 60 years of partnership between our two countries. Together we have promoted democracy, human rights, and shared security concerns,” he said.
Jamaica established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1962, following its independence from the United Kingdom.
The partnership focuses on reducing corruption; increasing transparency and good governance; fostering Jamaican participation in regional security efforts; strengthening basic education; and increasing energy resiliency.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has provided more than US$16.4 million as well as donations of vaccines to assist Jamaica’s containment measures.
Additionally, over the last 12 months, the United States has collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to issue a record number of H2 visas, bringing critical, temporary labour to the US, while providing jobs for thousands of Jamaicans that resulted in millions of dollars in remittances.
Significantly, the Peace Corps, which is also celebrating 60 years of partnership with Jamaica this year, will resume its operations on the island beginning September, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Contact: Rochelle Williams
Positive Outlook for Caribbean Tourism
June, 30, 2022 – The president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, says tourism in the Caribbean is recovering faster than expected.
While presenting at the CHTA ‘Caribbean Tourism Fireworks’, she said the Caribbean travel and tourism sector experienced the second-fastest recovery of all regions in 2021. Travel and Tourism have contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 36.6 per cent. She added that they have recovered over 311,000 jobs.
“That is really a testament to how fast Caribbean tourism has been able to come back into play,” said Madden-Greig.
January and February were not as successful because of the uprising of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Travel heightened between March and June, and Madden-Greig reported that summer looks promising and that they “expect that winter 2022-2023 will also be strong”.
“For the June to August period, [the Caribbean is] ahead of our 2019 airline arrivals in terms of what is forecast and on the books by upwards of two per cent,” she said.
The CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Fireworks is what the trade association uses to communicate regional tourism performance and outlook survey results. In addition to the performance reports, other topics were discussed including the recognition of Caribbean tourism’s resilience; that investments by the tourism industry in capital improvements, health safety and product value are underpinning the region’s tourism recovery; and that labour shortages present immediate and long-term opportunities.
CHTA urged employers, governments, education and training institutions to recruit new employees and prepare communities for careers, employment and ownership opportunities within the sector.
Also present at the CHTA Caribbean Tourism Firework were CHTA’s acting CEO and Director General, Vanessa Ledesma, Jamaican hotelier Clifton Reader, and the chair of CHTA’s Advocacy Committee.
While the speakers agreed that intra-Caribbean travel has great opportunities, they share that there are connectivity issues and issues with preserving, protecting and enhancing the region’s natural resources.
Sandals Resorts International Appoints Rachel McLarty as Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations
Communications Executive Rejoins Brand After Tenure at Distinguished Jamaican Law Firm
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, June 15, 2022 – Sandals Resorts International recently announced the appointment of Rachel McLarty to Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations, overseeing the company’s corporate communication efforts and public relations initiatives for the Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts brands throughout the Caribbean. Reporting to Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and CEO Gebhard Rainer, McLarty returns to the organization after a ten-year hiatus where she previously held the position of Group Director of Corporate Relations.
“We are in a moment of tremendous momentum and require a skilled, expert hand to navigate through what will be an upcoming decade of unprecedented growth for the organization,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of SRI. “Rachel McLarty is that voice in the Caribbean, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the company as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and plan for the next forty.”
McLarty, who will be based in the Kingston headquarters of Sandals Resorts International, will lead a talented team of public relations and communication professionals in Jamaica and throughout the entire Caribbean region. During her first tenure with SRI, McLarty served as Group Director of Corporate Relations for the organization for a period of five years, beginning in 2006. Prior to rejoining the company, she served as an attorney-at-law at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, one of the largest law firms in Jamaica. She is deeply committed to improving and developing Caribbean communities, currently sitting as Chairman of the Board for St. Andrew High School for Girls and the SOS Children’s Villages in Jamaica.
“Sandals Resorts International remains the brand standard for Caribbean organizations, and it is an honour to rejoin the company at such a prolific time,” said McLarty. “And while I have certainly followed the tremendous success of the brands in the last decade, I have remained even more impressed by the organization’s continued commitment to the Caribbean, the region we all call home. I look forward to the incredible work to be done.”
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