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JTB to invest more in social media

Published:Sunday | January 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) two years ago joined the throng of marketers tapping social networking sites as a way to drum up business when it revamped its website.

Now, the agency is investing millions to develop a channel on YouTube, according to David Shields, deputy director of tourism in charge of marketing at the JTB.

"What we are using the social media to do is to engage a social environment and interaction and hopefully, conversion of sales," said Shields. "We can also use the social media not just to engage persons, but also to deal proactively with issues that we might want to focus on."

The agency spent $250,000 to revamp its website. The YouTube project is estimated at another US$50,000 ($4.5 million).

The JTB is already on Facebook and Twitter, with just 120 followers.

"We now need to expand their presence and (grow) the number of fans we have on Facebook and followers on Twitter," said Shields.

The YouTube channel is to be launched in three to four months.

"We intend to build a YouTube brand channel where we will be focusing on aspects of Jamaica," he said. "One will be about Jamaica, (the other) will be My Jamaica, and the third area will be what we called Vibes Jamaica."

Still under investigation is potential promotions of the tourism product via mobile phones, specifically iPhones and BlackBerrys.