Jamaican Diaspora has strong scope for growing island’s tourism – Earl Jarrett

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – With Jamaica’s tourism recording strong growth in the past year, General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Earl Jarrett says the Jamaican Diaspora is an untapped market that holds tremendous potential to grow the island’s tourism product even more.

Addressing delegates attending the third annual Tourism Outlook Seminar at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay on Tuesday, February 2, Mr. Jarrett said Destination Jamaica is traditionally marketed to mainstream United States and Europe, but the Jamaican Diaspora has strong spending power with the zeal for supporting their country and tourism authorities should reshape their marketing efforts to include this group.

The JNBS head, in delivering his presentation which focused on assisting tourism stakeholders here to market to the Jamaican Diaspora, emphasized that overseas Jamaicans are among the most highly educated groups in the world; they are well traveled and have a large appetite for indigenous Jamaican products such as art and craft, food, music and entertainment.

Earl Jarrett
General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society

As a result Mr. Jarrett, whose company derives significant business from providing remittance and banking services to the Jamaican Diaspora, suggested that a refined marketing vehicle be developed to target organizations that have a large pull on the Jamaican Diaspora, such as Alumni Associations, Homecoming Foundations and Churches as part of the reshaped marketing thrust that places emphasis on Jamaicans living abroad.

He further advised that research be conducted and focus placed on events and activities that the Diaspora enjoy – such as religious conventions, sports and entertainment activities – with a view to enticing more to return home to experience the tourism product.

Jamaica is one of only two countries in the region which recorded growth in tourism in 2009. Figures from the JTB show that tourism arrivals grow 3.8 percent last year when compared with 2008.

The Tourism Outlook Seminar is organized by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The seminar is being held under the theme: “Changes, Challenges and Opportunities in Tourism: Rising above the current global economic landscape”.

Panelists for “Marketing in a time of rapid fire changes” at the Third Annual Tourism Outlook Seminar; L-R Alec Sanguinetti, CD-Director General & CEO, CHTA, Earl Jarrett, General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society, Hon. Edmund Barltett-Minister of Tourism, Jamaica; Wayne Cummings – President, Jamaica Hotel & Tourism; Jorn Dieschen – Director, Destination Strategy & Marketing, THR Int’l

Attendees were engaged with the information presented at the Tourism Outlook Seminar

Photos By: Noel Thompson

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