Go! Jamaica Travel revelling in success of first travel expo
On Friday, October 4, inside The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Go! Jamaica Travel, a tour and travel agency located along Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, held its very first travel expo, which saw many stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as prospective clients, in attendance.
In speaking with Hospitality Jamaica about the reason for hosting such an ambitious event, Dave A. Chin Tung, the man at the helm at Go! Jamaica Travel, who has been involved in tourism for over 40 years, said, “Our clients keep asking, ‘Which hotel you think is good for us?’, and we basically said, ‘... let’s bring them together so that they can meet the individual hotels, ask the questions, and choose which hotels to book their vacations’.”
So he brought the “top suppliers, top hoteliers, ground transportation, and airlines” together, he said, to take advantage of a “huge market” in the traditional way of doing business – face-to-face conversations.
“Instead of people going on the Internet trying to confirm a lot of their rooms, a lot of these people have questions. They need to speak with somebody. They want a live voice, they don’t want an Internet thing,” he explained.
Chin Tung, who has had much experience in hosting Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) events over the years, was right, for people went to talk in the Talk of the Town suite. And the feedback?
“Well, the hoteliers have told us that they love it, that they think it’s doing extremely well. The sponsors at JTB, they are amazed that we were able to do all of this in such a short space of time,” Chin Tung said.
In reference to the people who participated in the face-to-face format, Camille Needham, executive director of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, said that these people were an extension of their marketing pool as they tell their friends and family in the diaspora and beyond about the many beautiful properties in the accommodations sector in Jamaica.
Noting that the expo, which featured booths by several local hotels, “gave attendees the opportunity to shop vacation options in Jamaica”, Needham said that “technology notwithstanding, the face-to-face interaction – the opportunity to ask a question and receive an immediate response, the enjoyment of the person-to-person interaction – is only achievable” in a setting like the expo.
“Our visitors are always amazed at the number and variety of resorts all in this one island, each with defining characteristics that make it unique. Our tourism product is also probably one of the most integrated in the region, where overseas and local guests mingle freely and enjoy what this beautiful destination has to offer,” Needham said.
There was much mingling at the expo itself, and when asked what he would be saying at the end of the day of hosting his own travel expo, Chin Tung replied, “I would be saying ‘I think I have done what I set out to do’ because the response, not only in terms of the hoteliers, but even in terms of those people who have walked through, is that they are enjoying it, that they love it, and they have learnt a lot.”
And he has big plans for the second staging. “Next year is going to be tremendously larger, and when I say ‘tremendous’, I mean it’s going to be three or four times larger,” he revealed.