Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism and Travel Service Development, Mr. Edmund Bartlett congratulated Jamaica’s athletes for their stellar performance in the London 2012 Olympics and for bringing the most significant and priceless positive recognition for Jamaica ever. Mr. Bartlett however expressed serious concern about the lack of a discernable marketing strategy by the Government in capturing this very rare opportunity to tangibly extract benefits for Jamaica’s tourism industry and the wider economy.
Mr. Bartlett also questioned the seriousness of the Minister of Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeil and the Minister of State Damion Crawford during their visits to London at the expense of taxpayers. In one case, Mr. Crawford said on Twitter on the night of Tuesday August 7 that he and others “a shell dung a club a london”. (See tweet at end of Press Release)
Mr. Bartlett said that London 2012 saw record breaking viewership the world over with an estimated 2 billion people around the world seeing Usain Bolt wining the 100 metre final. American TV network NBC said that a record breaking 219 million people in the United States viewed the London 2012 games making it the ‘most watched television event in U.S. history’. For the United Kingdom, BBC figures showed that 20 million people watched the 100 metre final while in France, 34 million people watched at least one hour of the Games. Meanwhile, pan-European media group Eurosport which acted as a pay-TV Olympic rights partner to host broadcaster the BBC drew in over 106 million viewers.
Mr. Bartlett noted that the latest available figures show a double digit decline from the UK market to Jamaica, making it the weakest of Jamaica’s three major markets, the other being the US and Canada. He said the Ministerial team to London, arguably the largest Government delegation to the Olympics in history, knows this and should have capitalised on the London 2012 bonanza to turnaround the numbers. Mr. Bartlett pointed out that the Jamaica Tourist Board and JAMPRO spent approximately 150 million of taxpayers’ dollars on London 2012 activities NONE of which was expended on athletes or the media exposure received.
Mr. Bartlett went on to state that it was long established that Jamaica would have performed well at the games the Government dropped the ball big time by not crafting and executing a marketing plan that would have channeled direct benefits to the Tourism industry and the broader Jamaican economy.
Mr. Bartlett called for an immediate and full explanation from the Dr. Wykeham McNeil on what was accomplished by the visit of both himself and Mr. Crawford to London and how Jamaica will recover lost ground after clearly dropping the ball on this rare and free mega PR Jamaica received during the games.