As dignitaries and delegates descend on Jamaica for this week’s UN World Tourism Organisation Summit on Sustainable Tourism, they will encounter a team of local ambassadors encouraging them to see more of Montego Bay than just the conference centre, thanks to a TUI Care Foundation initiative being delivered by the Travel Foundation with support from local partners. The conference takes place from November 27th to 29th and brings together international tourism and sustainability experts from more than 150 countries.
Montego Bay frontline hotel staff, taxi drivers and district constables are receiving “Warm Welcome” training so they can confidently provide local ‘top tips’ and inspiration to encourage visitors to explore the area. The Warm Welcome launches to coincide with the conference, but will become a permanent campaign for all future visitors to Montego Bay and there are plans to extend it to other resorts on the island.
Thomas Ellerbeck, chairman of TUI Care Foundation said:
“Not only does this approach provide an enhanced visitor experience but, by encouraging people to explore past their hotels, local businesses and traders are more likely to benefit from tourist spend. It has been pleasing to see how the Warm Welcome campaign has also given residents a voice and articulated their sense of pride in their home town.”
Volunteers from TUI, on behalf of the Travel Foundation, interviewed local residents and business owners to find out what really makes Montego Bay so special and this insight was then captured within the Warm Welcome resources. The campaign was also informed by market research so that barriers preventing tourists from stepping outside their hotels were identified and addressed. For instance, the main reason given for staying put was that “the hotel has all that I need”, suggesting more can be done to communicate what’s on offer outside the hotel.
Salli Felton, CEO of the Travel Foundation, said
“It’s really important that Montego Bay residents are given the best opportunity to benefit from the tourism on their doorstep, and one way to do that is to encourage spend in the local economy. The Warm Welcome campaign is part of our wider programme of work in Jamaica delivered on behalf of TUI Care Foundation, and working in cooperation with the Tourism Product Development Company. For instance we are also looking at ways to increase the positive impacts of tourism through excursions and attractions such as the Harbour Street Craft Market”.