Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that his Ministry will be increasing investment in developing Carnival in Jamaica as a tourism product, which will be marketed to destinations across the globe.
Speaking yesterday at the launch of Carnival in Jamaica, at the AC Hotel in Kingston, the Minister said, “The Tourism Linkages Network will continue to support Carnival in Jamaica. We are committed to spend more on it, not for events, but to build the product because that is what will be sustainable and lasting.”
He added that, “Events are good, but you cannot market and package events in the same way you can with a product. In tourism, we drive and market products. We package these products as a combination of rooms, air seats and the experience.”
The marketing efforts for last year’s event proved effective, with data from the Jamaica Tourist Board showing that visitor arrivals through Norman Manley International Airport for the respective Easter/Carnival periods between 2018 and 2019 increased by 11.5% from 9,881 to 11,014 visitors.
Additionally, in the few days leading up to the culmination of Carnival in Jamaica, there was an increase in visitor arrivals from NMIA in 2019 of 18.4% over 2018’s Carnival lead up.
For an average of five nights, visitors also spent approximately US$240 per person per night; up from US$236 in 2018.
“Carnival was re-energised in 2017 with one intention in mind – to create a carnival product so that we can market it… This building out of the product will create an economic arrangement that will generate jobs and employment for hundreds of people, which is the bottom line for prosperity from carnival,” said the Minister.
The data highlighted that Carnival in Jamaica, resulted in an increase in economic activity in a myriad of subsectors, such as entertainment and the creative industries, attractions, ground transportation, auto rentals, catering, media, and retail.
Thirty-three percent of carnival participants visited an attraction, 49% dined out, and 47% participated in nightlife activities.
Kingston hotels were booked to capacity with 30% of carnival patrons staying in hotels. Airbnb was also a beneficiary with 28% opting for homestays and the remainder staying in private homes, villas, guesthouses and apartments.
“We are marketing Jamaica as a destination for music, entertainment, food, and most importantly – for love. That combination now makes Jamaica, the heartbeat of the world. You will hear more about that as we move on, in terms of our marketing arrangements across the globe,” said the Minister.
He further explained that, “This marketing drive has become a critical component of the architecture and the arrangements that we are making for disseminating ideas and information about Jamaica. This is very important to us because we are looking forward to building the city of Kingston, as the entertainment sector of the Caribbean.
In doing so, we are not competing with Trinidad or other destinations. We are creating something that is authentic, opinionated – something that people would come to Jamaica to experience and to consume and go nowhere else to get.”
Carnival in Jamaica was launched in 2017 and is used as the umbrella brand for all carnival activities, during the carnival period, making it a national product. This is an annual undertaking, which aims to transform the carnival experience locally. It is a key initiative of the Tourism Linkages Network with support from the Jamaica Tourist Board and key stakeholders.