$1.3M earmarked to market Ja

Nearly nine months to the start of Cricket World Cup 2007, which will be hosted throughout the islands of the Caribbean, including Jamaica, the Jamaica Tourist Board said it would be spending in excess of $1.3 billion this year to market Jamaica’s tourism product overseas.

Cricket World Cup 2007 is being used as a platform to stage its marketing campaign in India, while the JTB is also stepping up its drive to woo visitors from Ireland and China.

In 2005, the JTB spent US$20 million (J$1.3 billion) on its advertising and public relations campaign, which resulted in a record performance for the sector with more than 1.4 million stopover arrivals. This year the sector is also introducing a bed and breakfast programme to increase the existing accommodation sector by at least 200 rooms.

“The hosting of Cricket World Cup 2007 is like the springboard for bringing this programme into being because it was always our objective to have such a programme,” Aloun Assamba, Min-ister of Tourism and Entertainment, said during her post-sectoral debate press briefing at the JTB New Kingston offices last Thursday. “There are many places in the Caribbean where their tourism is marketed in this way, so there are great opportunities for marketing our bed and breakfast programme.”

The tourism minister said the ministry has received 100 applications from Jamaicans who want to participate in the programme. Of this amount 40 have been approved.

In a related issue, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has collected fees from incoming airline and cruise passengers totalling more than $715 million or US$11 million since its establishment in May last year.

Under the Tourism Enhancement Act of 2004, a fee of US$10 is charged to incoming airline passengers and US$2 for cruise passengers, which is paid into a dedicated TEF.