More information on the African Tourism Board and to join visit www.africantourismboard.com
Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has committed J$200 million to the Linkages Networks to help build out more products to enhance the visitor experience and ensure more inclusive growth in the sector.
Speaking at the launch of the new Top Events Jamaica Initiative yesterday at Devon House, Minister Bartlett said, “This year, we will be spending 200 Million dollars on the Networks to create the level of inclusiveness that connects the ordinary Jamaican to the tourism product and the product to the ordinary Jamaican.
This will be a huge game changer and we are going to change the narrative and also change the feeling of the public that tourism is only for the bigger suppliers and doesn’t include the smaller players.”
The Tourism Linkages Network’s (TLN’s) main focus has been to bring local tourism suppliers in contact with other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing. In doing so, the Linkages Network creates more economic opportunities for our local tourism suppliers who can then earn more.
Driving this inclusive growth are five networks geared towards building out authentic Jamaican experiences for the visitors and increasing the earning potential of small suppliers and they are – Gastronomy, Sports and Entertainment, Shopping, Knowledge and Health and Wellness.
The new Top Events Jamaica initiative, being spearheaded by the TLN, is designed to increase visitor participation in events and activities island-wide through strategic partnerships and leveraging the power of technology, social media, and advertising.
In highlighting the importance of this new platform, Minister Bartlett, said, “Top Events will place all our best entertainment products and offerings under one roof. In doing so we are allowing visitors and locals alike to chance to find these offerings with the click of a button. Top events will be a critical element that brings together our authentic Jamaican entertainment products under one roof through the use of technology.
This type of interface is critical in the age of technology especially given that entertainment forms a large part of why people travel and as such there is value in building out more products of this nature to drive arrivals and growth in the sector.”
The Top Events initiative will include a microsite and an easy to use mobile app to increase visitor awareness and participation in the over 900 events held in Jamaica each month. To qualify for listing on Top Events, event organizers must meet the predetermined criteria outlined by the TLN that guarantees continuity in the content delivery and effective data capture.
The TLN’s Sports and Entertainment Network (SEN) will be the driving force behind Top Events Jamaica and the body ultimately responsible for the final selection of “Top Events” to be added to the event calendar.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, Corporate Communications, 64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Tel: 920-4926-30, Fax: 920-4944
The world’s tallest modular hotel – which will carry a brand of Marriott International – is on track to be stacked in late fall in New York City with prefabricated and pre-furnished guestrooms. Once erected over a 90-day period, the 360-foot-tall tower will represent a milestone for Marriott’s ongoing initiative to encourage hotel developers in North America to embrace modular for new construction projects. To be topped with a modular roof and modular rooftop bar, the world’s tallest modular hotel is expected to open in late 2020 as the AC Hotel New York NoMad.
“In North America, the construction process hasn’t changed significantly in 150 years and it’s ripe for innovation,” said Eric Jacobs, Marriott International, Chief Development Officer, North America, Select and Extended Stay Brands. “The world’s tallest modular hotel in one of the world’s greatest destinations will act as a game-changing symbol to ignite even greater interest in modular among the real estate and lending industries.”
Fully finished guest rooms
The 168-room, 26-story AC Hotel New York NoMad is scheduled to rise at 842 Sixth Avenue with prefabricated guestrooms arriving at the hotel site fully constructed, inside and out. Besides finished, painted walls, each “module” will contain a fully outfitted guest room – with beds, sheets, pillows, flooring and even toiletries. The hotel’s roof and rooftop bar are expected to be produced using modular construction, and its more customized public areas such as the restaurant and lobby are expected to be constructed using traditional methods.
Prefabrication is a process that Marriott has found typically reduces the construction timeline, curbs site waste and noise, and results in a higher-quality product produced with factory level precision. The time savings comes from the ability to perform two crucial functions simultaneously – building the public spaces on site while manufacturing the guest rooms offsite.
“This is the moment where modular construction takes center stage,” says Danny Forster, a leading modular building advocate whose firm, Danny Forster & Architecture, designed the project. As he explains it, “This hotel takes every advantage of off-site manufacturing, as you might expect. But it does so in a way that defies expectation. We wanted to demonstrate that modular building can do more than just harness the efficiencies of the factory. It can produce a graceful and iconic tower. And yes, it can do so at the rate of an entire floor a day.”
Marriott sees a modular future
Marriott, which has the largest pipeline of hotels in North America, began researching modular construction in 2014 to offset lengthening hotel construction times – a trend attributed to the nation’s building boom and resulting labor shortages. Since 2011, Marriott has seen the average time to build and open a hotel in North America increase by as much 50 percent, depending on factors such as location and size of property.
Since 2015, Marriott has been educating owners, franchisees, architects, lenders, consultants, general contractors and other stakeholders across the industry about the benefits of modular by hosting town halls, factory tours and stacking events. The company also worked with leading modular manufacturers to help them better understand the untapped demand that hotel development companies represent.
Since the launch of Marriott’s initiative, the company’s development partners in North America have opened 31 Marriott-brand hotels – all low-rise structures – that incorporate prefabricated guestrooms and/or bathrooms, including a Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites in Folsom, Calif.; a Courtyard by Marriott in Pullman, Wash., and three AC Hotels in Oklahoma City, Louisville, Ky., and Chapel Hill, N.C. To date, the largest Marriott-branded modular-built to open is the 354-room, dual-brand Courtyard and TownePlace Suites by Marriott property in Hawthorne, Calif., while the first to also incorporate a prefabricated elevator bank was the Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites in Prairie, Wisc. Later this year, a developer will start stacking the first modular-built Moxy hotel in the United States in downtown Oakland, Calif.
The company continues efforts to support developers interested in leveraging prefabrication, most recently launching modular versions of its prototypes for four of its higher-volume brands: Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Underscoring its commitment to igniting demand for modular construction, Marriott this year is offering an incentive to development companies that leverage prefabrication for guestroom construction.
Bain & Company and Google India are together launching a report on “How Does India Travel.” According to the report, the Indian traveler has come of age, spending approximately $94 billion in 2018 on around 2 billion domestic and international trips. This has helped the Indian travel and tourism industry achieve unprecedented scale, and the momentum is expected to continue with the industry growing at a 13 percent CAGR to $136 billion by 2021, according to a report.
Fueled by digital, Indian travelers are expected to spend an additional $24 billion on online travel bookings over the next 3 years. The report outlines how India spends on travel, the influence of online channels in their purchase journey, and potential growth opportunities for travel businesses until 2021.
Deep diving into the $136 billion spends, the report cites a 12 percent growth in transportation ($50 billion), 13 percent growth in lodging ($21 billion) and consumption, which includes spends on shopping, recreation and food, to grow at 13 percent ($65 billion) over the next three years. Additionally, as more people come online, smartphone penetration improves and use of digital payments goes up, the report estimates that Indian travelers will spend an additional $24 billion on online travel bookings over the next three years, a growth from 25 percent in 2018 to 35 percent in 2021.
Online is a significant source of research
Elucidating the planning journey of Indian travelers, both for business and leisure, the report calls out five phases of a customer journey – Interest, Research, Booking, Experience and Sharing. The report states that during key research-heavy phase of interest, research and experience, digital plays a pivotal role with over 86 percent of consumers being influenced by online channels. During this phase, travelers spend their maximum time on search, travel tour provider websites, price comparison websites, and travel articles. Online video too plays a significant role with 21 percent of travelers being influenced by this platform. In the booking and sharing phase, the report states that nearly 60 percent of customers book transport and lodging online, and over 50 percent share feedback online with social media being the dominant platform.
Talking about the market opportunities for online travel players, Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director – Sales, Google India said, “New users perceive that online channels are geared towards the more frequent flyers and experience-oriented travelers; and existing travelers research online but the lack of trust in payments and booking experience make them end up booking offline. If travel players tap these online users through personalized marketing, messaging and travel plans, they can further augment online travel bookings. This can be done by adopting digital technologies to influence customers early in the journey and moving from one-time engagement to ongoing relationships to have a positive impact.”
“There is a perception amongst consumers that online channels are geared towards premium customers, along with a marked distrust around payment and pricing terms. It is imperative for businesses to address these concerns in order to effectively tap into the growing base of users.” Arpan Sheth, partner Bain & Company said.
Decoding the Indian travelers
The report further identified the five cohorts of travelers in India, across business and leisure travel, and categorized each against their online research behavior:
- Frequent flyers: Nearly 70 percent of them booked online, cumulatively spent $17 billion in 2018. They make their choices based on convenience, availability, brand preference and past experiences.
- Budget business traveler: 86 percent of them researched online whereas only 60 percent book online, cumulatively spent $20 billion in 2018. This cohort makes their decisions based on cost of travel, availability and consultation amongst their personal business network.
- Experience-oriented traveler: Around 70 percent of their bookings were done online. and cumulatively spent $22 billion in 2018. They extensively research both online and offline for ‘authentic’ experiences and convenience of options; display high loyalty towards preferred brand of airlines or hotels and actively share experiences.
- Budget group traveler: 90 percent researched online and 55 percent booked online, cumulatively spent $29 billion in 2018. They make multiple decision-makers in the process and take the final decisions based on minimal cost.
- Occasional travel visiting friends/relatives: 92 percent researched online but only 60 percent booked online, spent $6 billion in 2018. They maximize family convenience within a budget and believe online terms and conditions are restrictive.
However, challenges remain in meeting the expectations of these travelers. Customers perceive online channels geared towards premium cohorts (frequent flyer and experience-oriented traveler), while mass cohorts, with $55 billion in spending, remain underpenetrated. There are about 160 million non-transacting active Internet users in India with only 5 percent of online travelers from Tier-2 or Tier-3 cities. There is a significant (20 percent) difference between the booking rates of premium cohorts and mass cohorts, the latter being also dissatisfied with online channels (~33 percent satisfied) vs. premium cohorts (~42 percent). The second challenge is in penetrating existing users who exhibit a marked distrust in use of online channels to make bookings, especially around payment and pricing terms and booking experience compared with offline channels. Consequently, their online usage drops between the research (>86 percent online influence) and booking phases (~40 percent offline bookings).
How travel businesses need to adapt to the needs of online consumers
The report cites five major shifts that marketers need to make to market to the online travelers – First, alleviate consumer concerns by improving the booking and payment experience to build a trusted brand and increase adoption. Second, they need to address the negative customer perception issues by mass customization to drive higher share in the segment. They also need to utilize consumer technology to penetrate mass segments (standardize, enable sharing), reach non-transactors (build offline presence), and create new user access. Moreover, they need to find innovative and frugal ways to package the experience to increase both adoption and retention. Finally, they need to create a robust digital backend to adapt to customer needs across the purchase journey.
“The contribution of travel and tourism’s spend in India has reached developed market levels, from 6.7percent of GDP in 2013 to 9.4 percent in 2018. This growth, combined with a rapidly growing internet user base and adoption of online bookings will lead to $24 billion in incremental revenues through online channels by 2021. In order to benefit from this trend, businesses need to actively increase new user adoption and increase penetration in the existing user base across the purchase journey.” Joydeep Bhattacharya, partner Bain & Company said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un today witnessed the test-firing of a new type of tactical guided weapon.
The Korean Central News Agency said Chairman Kim Jong Un observed the firing of the weapon Wednesday by the Academy of Defense Science.
According to Beijing’s Global Times tabloid, North Korea wants to slow the pace of tourism as more foreigners are traveling to the country.
The agency reports that Kim said “the development of the weapon system serves as an event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People’s Army.”
The agency says Kim mounted an observation post to learn about the test-fire of the new-type tactical guided weapon and guide the test-fire.
The announcement came after reports of new activity at a North Korean missile research center and long-range rocket site where the North is believed to build long-range missiles targeting the U.S. mainland.
The White House said it was aware of the report and had no comment.