Ryerson University wins inaugural Jamaica Community Tourism Innovation Challenge Award

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (Jamaica Observer) — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett yesterday announced Canadian university, Ryerson, as the first winner of the Jamaica Community Tourism Innovation Challenge Award.

He revealed the winners at a special awards ceremony on the final day of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Government of Jamaica World Bank Group, Inter-American Development Bank Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, which took place at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

“What is great about this challenge is that it is a win-win for all involved, as Jamaica benefits from this increased exposure of our island among an age group that is adventurous and open to new experiences, while raising awareness among students of issues surrounding sustainable tourism for development,” said Bartlett.

The competition was organised as one of the Ministry of Tourism’s activities to celebrate the UNWTO’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and was a partnership with the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies.

It was open to university students from across the globe, and required them to develop a marketing campaign strategy that would encourage other students to visit Jamaica and experience the country’s community-based tourism attractions.

“The student traveller represents fully one-fifth of all international arrivals in the travel industry today. They command a market value of some US$320 billion and they are willing to spend to create experiences; so you see the value of this demographic. So the development of this global initiative was therefore, a very strategic marketing move which allowed us to tap into this very important market,” said the minister.

‎Executive Director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at The George Washington University School of Business, Seleni Matus, applauded the Ministry of Tourism for providing university students with the opportunity to apply their classroom learning to help solve a real world challenge and to understand how sustainable tourism is being used by governments to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

 Speaking at the awards ceremony Matus explained that “The challenge put out a call to over 100 universities around the world to really offer innovations on how to effectively promote community-based tourism here in Jamaica. It would follow the fantastic work that team tourism here in Jamaica has been doing. We had 46 innovative teams join and from that we selected five finalists.”
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