Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Dec 16, 2019

Jamaica has a taste to be different


If you ask Donovan White, Jamaica’s director of tourism, about travel trends, he’ll first point out that “today’s traveller is driven by their passions, by things that they’re seeking to spend money on and to have a feeling of satisfaction about. And you’ll see that same word – satisfaction – come up again.”

For White, one of the biggest trends today is the “business of gastronomy and food” tourism.

He told CTP that “80% of the travellers all around the world tra-vel for food, and they spend more than 40% of their money on food.”

As a result, “the business of gastronomy then becomes an important area for us to pivot our product on and to create new experiences around Jamaican food and just general food experiences,” he said.

The goal, White explains, is that when people “think of wanting to experience culinary delights and different types of food when they travel, then Jamaica should be on their bucket list of places to go to have those experiences.”

Right now, White said, Jamaica is in the process of developing a new food experience at one of the most iconic sites in Jamaica, which is the Devon House.”

The Devon House experience will give travellers the chance to cook their own food with a Master Chef. They’ll have the chance to shop at a green food market to select all of the items they need in order to prepare their meal.

“So, visitors can come to the Devon House with a group of friends, and if they want to cook curry goat or their favourite ackee and salt fish, or anything else for that matter, and they’ll have a master chef there who is able to help them to prepare that delight.”

Along with food, which “is obviously a big part of where we’re going,” White told CTP that “the other area of trend changes in travel decision making is health and wellness.”

He observed that: “More people around the world are now driven by healthy lifestyle; wanting to experience the things that create wellness – mental and physical. And we believe that a lot of our natural resources lend themselves to this kind of travel.”

White pointed to the development of nutriceuticals and other types of derivatives that come from natural plants and trees and fruits and other things that grow out of the earth in Jamaica and that are quite organic.

He explained that by working with the people in Jamaica who are creating things like oils and aromatherapy techniques – things travellers want, but can’t get anywhere else but Jamaica – “these are unique developments, unique opportunities that we believe the destination has in its arsenal and can provide in a major kind of way that will be a differentiator for us and allows us to market the destination in a way that no one else can.”

White continued: “So now when you think of coming to Jamaica, you’re not thinking about where you’re going to stay or how much is it going to cost you to stay there, you’ll be thinking about the value that you get from being there and being able to have access to so many other aspects of the destination that you can’t get or can’t buy anywhere else – you have to come to Jamaica for it.”

And when it comes to trends, White said that Jamaica thinks about them in terms of differentiation. “We look at things to find unique propositions that reposition us in a way that we can truly focus on growth from the perspective of focusing on our value-added propositions and not just sun, sand and sea.”