Working in partnership with the Travel Foundation, the TUI Care Foundation has set up a new project to create opportunities for local entrepreneurs in Jamaica to connect with the tourism sector. Over 150 MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) will learn how to develop their products and promote them to hotels, tour operators and tourists visiting the island. Ten entrepreneurs will be selected from this group to become the project’s ‘beacon businesses’ – a group of local businesses that will have access to a more intensive coaching programme and receive guidance from top-notch travel professionals.
Travel and tourism is a major source of economic growth and employment in Jamaica and working with MSME’s offers a real opportunity to build strong local economies. The TUI Care Foundation’s ‘Big Up Small Business’ initiative will provide practical support for small local businesses to tap into this thriving tourism industry. Working together with sustainable tourism experts and the local tourism product development agency (TPDCo), the MSME’s taking part in the initiative will receive training and marketing support to develop their businesses and understand what international visitors are looking for.
This new TUI Care Foundation initiative aims to forge links and help drive innovation so that small-business entrepreneurs, including accommodation and attraction providers, community enterprises and craft producers, can connect more easily with tourists. As well as offering unique and unforgettable holiday experiences for visitors, local MSMEs can also help the local community to benefit from the opportunities brought by tourism.
The overall aim of the project is to increase the revenue from tourism for MSMEs. To help achieve this, it will create new opportunities for the entrepreneurs by organizing expos, conferences and workshops to connect them with tourists and travel businesses. It will also show them how to access grants and new investment to scale up their businesses.
Alexander Panczuk, Executive Director External Affairs and Development at TUI Care Foundation, said: "Tourism is the growth engine of the Jamaican economy. Also for local small business owners. With our initiative we want to enable Jamaican entrepreneurs to benefit from tourism and to market their products and services to international guests, helping to position Jamaica as an authentic and unique destination."
The “Big Up Small Business” initiative follows the success of the Out and About in Montego Bay project (also set up by the TUI Care Foundation in partnership with the Travel Foundation), which led to four times as many tourists visiting Harbour Street Craft Market and a 50% growth in the average spend per tourist.
Coral Purvil-Williams, project coordinator at the Travel Foundation, said: “Working again with TPDCo, TUI Care Foundation and travel companies, we are going to provide small businesses with amazing opportunities to connect with Jamaica’s international tourism industry. I would urge any entrepreneur with an interest in the tourism sector to look out for an invitation to our workshops and to apply to be one of our ten beacon businesses who will really get a head start.”