What is Jamaica Tourist Board Responsibility?

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is Jamaica’s national tourism agency and is responsible for worldwide tourism marketing and promotion for the island of Jamaica.  Their website states that its mission is the development and marketing of the tourism industry in order to ensure that Jamaica remains the premier Caribbean tourist destination. However, it seems to me that in recent times the board has shifted away from its core objective. 

The agency seems to be operating as a sponsor for the various different events held in Jamaica and it does not matter whether or not these events actually bring in tourists.  I would be the first to admit that promotion is a very wide area and that many persons will have differing interpretations but in this case we must not forget that the aim is to promote the island.  With this in mind the recent fiasco surrounding the staging of the Miss Jamaica Universe competition has surely not helped to promote Jamaica’s image.  Whereas I could understand utilizing the winner to help with the promotion of the island, I think it is going a little too far to actually sponsor the event as who from overseas will even see this event.

There has been constant debate about the JTB’S sponsorship of the Jazz and Blues Festival.  The experience over the years has been that this event is attended primarily by Jamaicans. Given that it falls in the prime of the tourist season one wonders why the JTB sees the need to sponsor it.  It seems that every time I turn around I see another event being sponsored by the JTB.  Yet when Calabash needed a sponsor JTB was found wanting.  Now, they are one of the sponsors of a free event in new Kingston featuring Shaggy; how does that relate to tourism? I am not suggesting that they do not sponsor any events as tourists need to have more entertainment options but their primary focus needs to be on developing the international markets.  By my estimates it seems that too much of their current budget goes to sponsorship 

Just as the minister of tourism has spent considerable time visiting new areas in an effort to expand the number of non United States visitors, so the JTB needs to do more promotion in those countries to let them know what is available here.  To develop new markets requires considerable resources and it requires a long term approach.  One has to compete with all the other worldwide destinations in order to get the attention of the customer.  This requires a lot of dedication and considerable hard work.  It may be that the JTB finds it easier to sponsor a local event which is in the public eye than to do the work needed behind the scenes in order to diversify the arrivals.

Let us think again and rededicate ourselves to fulfilling the mission.

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5 Responses to “What is Jamaica Tourist Board Responsibility?”

  1. John says:

    I have been saying for some time that an independent forensic audit of the JTB is way overdue.My attention was drawn to an article about a month ago that an audit was ordered by the Minister but what good that! I agree that there is an awful lot of sponsorship going on but remain unconvinced that we are getting value for money. I suspect that a lot of bums on seats are being subsidised by the taxpayer when these should be commercial ventures.In my view the JTB could well be in the Air Jamaica model and we need to have this ratified and either lived with or dealt with.

  2. Timothy says:

    Having actually worked with the Jamaica Tourist Board I may be able to shed some light on your concerns. You correctly mentioned that the JTB “is responsible for worldwide tourism marketing and promotion for the island of Jamaica” as according to their website. It is therefore important to note that this international focus takes into account the domestic tourist and domestic tourism. The term coined is ‘staycation’, which has become a particular focus in the strategic marketing effort of the JTB and the best method to stimulate travel during the off-seasons.

    When it comes to the JTB’s sponsorship of events, the likes of ATI, Dream Weekend, Jazz and Blues Festival are some that come to mind. You will note that while these events are massively attended by Jamaicans they continue to build as internationally competitive brands. Through association with these major events by sponsorship and endorsement JTB is able to market these events as part of the Jamaican experience both at home and abroad.

    As such they will inevitably generate international following and stand out at home; killing two birds with one stone. The larger events will inevitably be given preferential treatment simply because of their proven pulling power as brand names. Smaller events will get sponsorship based on their ability to build as a competitive brand and their performance in prior years among other factors. Of course as with every business there are sometimes breakdowns in communication and negotiation which can affect this process.

    I realize this is a short to medium term strategy but it works for fulfilling part of their mission. In establishing new markets it becomes necessary that we understand those markets fully in order to realize the full benefits from them. This touches on the realm of human resource development not just the JTB’s action. Development of the Chinese market for example requires that our service and hospitality professionals understand there aspects of their culture and needs.

    I am confident that the JTB remains dedicated to its mission while pursuing a diversified strategy.

  3. Their responsibility is to tackle problems withing their fraternity by carefully monitor the tourism sector, while gradually improving their services, both locally and internationally. Which will ultimately increase the number tourists to jamaica in the near future.

  4. Tika says:

    Their function is to have parties, promote
    half naked girls on the beaches frolicking with each other, yes showing our beautiful beaches is ook but when posters show our females rubbing each other naked butts, it sends the wrong messages. JTB will sell jamaica
    as long as the tourists, foreign hotel owners & mgrs and jamaica’s wealthy is happy.
    Tourist board ignores the small business people and is satified with the chump change
    workers in the tourist area make , barely more than minimum wages, and Bartlett act as if all is welk.As long as there’s a monkey hop the JTB posse wants a part of the hype.

  5. radobar says:

    good comments – and timely. JTB was used to support the DEVELOPMENT of events but it was never envisaged that it would be the financier of these, especially privately owned. If an event is not viable after 5 years why bother ?
    Events have a basic problem. Those that benefit most – airlines, hotels – contribute least. If it doesn’t make sense for them to support the event why should we?

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admin Posted by: admin July 20, 2011 at 8:48 am