Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook led the Jamaica Tourist Board delegation as they engaged the world’s leading airlines in negotiating travel routes to the island.

February 22, 2017

Jamaica is set to benefit significantly from what has become a growing trend in special-interest tourism. More and more, travelers are craving enriching experiences that transport them from the hum drum of their everyday lives to a place of cultural immersion, social engagements, and environmental respite. Jamaica delivers.

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) invests heavily in presenting Jamaica as a diverse destination, the ideal place for persons wanting these escapades off the beaten path. The island offers some of the prime activities that tick the boxes of special- interest travelers, including hands- on gastronomic experiences, sports tourism, and heritage and culture tours. In support of this approach, the JTB continues to host numerous influencers and special-interest media groups, exposing them to Jamaica’s unique adventures.

Keeping abreast of the key motivating factors that excite people to travel is a sure way of positioning the destination with packages tailored to the experiences in demand. In pursuit of authentic encounters and experiences, special-interest tourists are drawn to meaningful interactions with community members, gastronomic experiences, heritage tours, fashion catwalks and exposés, health and wellness offerings, musical performances, and tours. Some of the media and influencer groups that the JTB has hosted feature fashion trendsetters Revolve; Elle Magazine, a lifestyle publication; My Green Pod, a blog that highlights eco-lifestyle; and a Puma tour that focused on Jamaica’s athletic prowess.

Good Fit

Jamaica’s offerings are a good fit for special-interest travelers given the scope and depth of the island’s tourism product. With the most diverse attractions and accommodation offerings in the English- speaking Caribbean, Jamaica stands to benefit greatly from the growth in this niche market. Travelers have a plethora of accommodations, sites, eateries, events, and activities to create a dynamic and interesting itinerary that will definitely satisfy their discerning tastes. Catering to special-interest travelers is an excellent way to drive year- round arrivals to the island as visitors are not inhibited by seasonality issues. Rather, they are motivated to travel any time of year to satisfy their desire.

Jamaica participated in Routes Americas 2017, the travel event that provides opportunities to meet with senior decision makers from the region’s airlines to discuss new market opportunities and the evolution of existing services. The delegates-only event was held from February 14-16 in Las Vegas in the United States. Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook led the Jamaica Tourist Board delegation as they engaged the world’s leading airlines in negotiating travel routes to the island. Above, the Jamaica team is shown in discussions. From left to right are Director Pennicook; Audley Deidrick, president, Airports Authority of Jamaica and CEO, Norman Manley International Airports Limited; Alfred McDonald, senior director, commercial development and planning, Norman Manley International Airports Limited; Francine Carter- Henry, manager – tour operators and airlines, Jamaica Tourist Board; Donnie Dawson (stand- ing), deputy director of tourism, sales, Jamaica Tourist Board; and Nicholas Han (behind the desk), senior analyst route planning, JetBlue Airways.