Community-based tourism provides a means for Jamaicans—as well as people throughout the Caribbean—to introduce visitors to their traditional cultures, as well as the natural beauty of their island homes. And it provides islanders with the financial incentive to maintain their cultural and natural resources.

The Jamaica Tourism Innovation Challenge—sponsored by the The George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies, UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism— offers contestants an opportunity to promote travel to locally-owned hotels, restaurants and activities offering an authentic Jamaican experience. It also provides university students with the opportunity to apply their classroom learning to a real world challenge.

As the Caribbean recovers from the recent hurricanes that have devastated a number of islands, the Jamaica Tourism Innovation Challenge is particularly timely. It can serve as a model and source of inspiration to small business owners working to rebuild their homes, hotels and businesses and give them ideas for promoting community-based vacation opportunities to the growing number of travelers eager to experience traditional island life.

The Challenge

Develop a marketing campaign strategy that promotes community-based tourism opportunities—including sustainable hotels, restaurants and activities—to visitors seeking an authentic Jamaican experience. The emphasis is on reaching young travelers, including university students, who would be particularly receptive to the authenticity of community-style travel.

The Problem

While tourism is a key driver of Jamaica’s economy and the island's largest employer, small enterprises have traditionally not benefited from the financial revenue generated by the large hotels and resorts. That's why the Minister of Tourism, Honorable Edmund Bartlett, recently laid out an ambitious plan to establish an initiative designed to make the industry more inclusive and supportive of community-based businesses. Through Jamaica Community Experiences small tourism enterprises are receiving support from the Jamaican Social Investment Fund and the Tourism Product Development Company to develop and promote their tourism products.

While the Jamaica Tourist Board, one of the world’s leading tourism marketing organizations, attracts millions of visitors to Jamaica’s beautiful beaches and world class resorts, they are eager to promote community enterprises and are actively seeking innovative promotional ideas to introduce travelers—particularly young travelers— to adventure, volunteer and educational tourism opportunities. 

The Challenge Breakthrough

Marketing strategies submitted to the Jamaica Innovation Tourism Challenges may include but are not limited to:

  • Use of social media
  • Contests and Sweepstakes
  • Working through university clubs, fraternities, and sororities to identify trip leaders to organize and recruit group educational travel
  • On campus events and guerilla style marketing tactics 
  • Motivating high school teachers and university professors to organize study trips
  • Earned and paid media placements in targeted publications and online sites

Target Audience: Travelers seeking an authentic tourism experience with a particular emphasis on young travelers including university and/or high school students from the Caribbean, United States, Canada and Europe.

Budget for Marketing Campaign Implementation: $50,000

Timing for Marketing Campaign: To be implemented during 2018

Submission Format:

Short video pitch of your idea (no longer than 2 minutes) and

Written marketing plan (5000 words or less) uploaded to HeroX with the following content:

  • A marketing strategy – What is your idea?
  • Objectives – What is your idea trying to accomplish?
  • Market research/situation analysis – Why will this work?
  • Action plan and budget – How to carry out your idea?
  • Metrics to measure success – How to measure its success?
  • Forecast of results – What results should JTB expect?

What You Can Do To Cause A Breakthrough

  • Click "Follow the Challenge" above to be notified of any status updates to the challenge.
  • Click "Yes Sign Me Up!" above to register for the challenge. You will be notified of any status updates and be able to create an entry to the challenge when it opens.
  • Click on the "Share" button or social media icons above to share this challenge with your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Leave a comment in our Comments Thread to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.

Additional rules

Who can participate:
The Challenge is open to teams of 2 to 4 students from around the world. To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Selection of Winner:
Based on the winning criteria, one team will be awarded a trip to Jamaica for two representatives from the winning team to attend the “UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism” (Prize is valued at $5,000 - includes airfare, hotel, and meals and a FAM tour of the tourism products). DETAILS. In case of a tie, the winner will be selected at the discretion of the judging panel.  If the winning team is from Jamaica, they will receive a sustainable tourism study tour to Washington DC in addition to attending the conference in Jamaica.

Registration and Submissions:
All teams must be registered by November 1, 2017 11:59PM PDT to be eligible for the prize. No registrations will be accepted after this date and no changes to teams may be made after this date.

All team submission materials must be submitted online on or before November 1, 2017 at 11:59PM PDT. No submissions will be accepted after this time. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. All submissions must be received online, via the Challenge website, and all uploads can be in PDF format only. Submission reporting requirements are detailed in judging.

Challenge Guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the Challenge site often to review updates.



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