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Tourism players urged to build sector together

Published:Friday | January 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer


PRESIDENT OF the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Wayne Cummings, has called for tourism interests to work together to effectively market the tourism product.

"We, unfortunately, as an industry, are crabs in a barrel," said Cummings, noting that the various sectors of Jamaica's tourism sector lacked the ability to work together and were adversarial for the sake of competition and survival.

"It is unfortunate, because we are all pushing our own brands, because it's called survival," Cummings continued.

The call was made a Gleaner Editors' forum at the company's Western Bureau office in Montego Bay on Wednesday.

Issues discussed

A number of issues were discussed at the forum, including the question of whether Jamaica's tourism product should be diversified.

Cummings asserted that Jamaicans were taking tourism for granted, arguing that time should be invested in finding a way to support a new type of tourism.

"Many of us are too busy running our businesses and we want to focus on our core business," said the JHTA president.

"So whether it's the Jamaica Tourist Board, JHTA ... we need to figure out ways to put a new tourism out there, because what is missing is what is there to excite the customer to come outside of the hotels or to get off the cruise ships."

Myrtle Dwyer, sales and marketing director at Half Moon Hotel, agreed on the need to work together and diversify the tourism product.

"Every time you hear Jamaica rated (as) the best party destination, the second-best destination for romance. We need to take these segments and put value on them and take Jamaica to market as such," she said.