Access Jamaica Blog

JTB ramping up marketing to African American and Japanese tourists

Edmund-Bartlett-and-Godfrey-Dyer

Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) board chairman, Godfrey Dyer, says the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is ramping up its marketing efforts to re-attract some of Jamaica’s former key markets particularly the African American and Japanese to the island.

Mr. Dyer, who is a former president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), told Access Jamaica that there are signs of improvement in the number of African-American market visiting the island, though not to the extent of arrivals more than a decade ago.

“The Tourist Board is working at it.  It’s not the easiest market, but they are working at it and we have started to see some movement.  Many years ago in the 70s, we used to have in summer a lot of black Americans…we need to get back to that.  Steady work is being done and give it another year or two, we will see a resurgence in that market,” Mr. Dyer said.

In mid-2016 Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett announced his intentions to go after the African American market.  At the time he said the JTB would be using social media and other promotional means to go after the 35 million strong African-American market.

With respect to the Japanese, Mr. Dyer said a fall-out in that Asian country’s economy had resulted in a decline of tourists from there to Jamaica.  He is predicting that there will be an upturn in arrivals from that market, along with the Russian and Chinese over the next few years.

“Thirty percent of Half Moon’s occupancy was Japanese.  The economy dropped out and it took a long time to bring it back; no direct airlift, and unless you have enough people travelling, you can’t put in direct airlift.  That market, along with the Chinese and Russian markets are being worked on and I give it another three years or so, you are going to see great movement,” Mr. Dyer explained.

The JTB began aggressively marketing Jamaica to the Japanese in the mid-1980s and by 1990 the Japanese market began to grow rapidly with over 6,000 visitors to Jamaica compared with 1,800 in 1988. In 1991, visitor arrivals from Japan grew more than 11,000.

African Americans have over $800 billion in expendable income each year according to the US Bureau of Census and reported by the National Black Chamber of Commerce. This sector along with the Japanese, Chinese and Russian markets remain viable income generators for Jamaica.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2019

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