CRAFTING A ‘VOLUNTOURISM’ EXPERIENCE

A change is gonna come to the travel industry. Beginning with plans to integrate volunteerism and tourism, Jamaica seems poised to lead the charge that will probably revolutionize the industry. According to Sandra Scott, the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Deputy Director of Tourism and Marketing, “visitors to the island will soon be able to vacation for one week and volunteer the following week” in the areas of health and education.

On her first visit to New York since leaving Toronto, Canada to assume the position in Jamaica, Scott said the concept is one that visitors to the island have always embraced. She said already there are repeat visitors who willingly offer professional service to individuals and groups while vacationing.

That this can be a built-in aspect of their trip seems viable. In detailing a myriad ways her country’s leading industry could be enhanced, Scott also proposed Accessible Tourism, another concept to encourage disabled tourists.

“There are large numbers of potential travelers with special needs who are often disregarded.” Scott cites individuals who require wheelchair access, the hearing impaired, sightless and anyone who might require an attendant or nurse.

Her hope is that hotels will convert at least five rooms in each facility to accommodate these needs.

Then there is the Experience Jamaica attraction – which offers Jamaicans on the island as well as visitors to get 10 to 50 percent discount on accommodations, transportation and restaurants. For those living on the island it is a stay-cation at a bargain. For visitors, the Experience begins in April and ends in December with loads of treats at premium prices.

The Knutsford Experience is another tourism offering that narrows the gaps between Kingston’s capital city, Negril and the second city of Montego Bay. With limited domestic coast to coast flights on the island, coach service tagged the Knutsford Experience enables travelers to ride to Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril for a nominal fee. Chaffeured by uniformed drivers in a clean, attractive, on-time coach, passengers are able to see the island in comfort and ease.

Scott is no stranger to the industry. Her more than 25 years of experience in hospitality combined with dutiful service of tourism marketing began in Jamaica when she accepted the position of director of sales and public relations at the Hotel Intercontinental/Americana. From there she moved to the Liguanea Club to become the Food and Beverage Manager and Resident Manager. In 1986, Scott formed her own company, Food Products Limited, a full service catering company with two delicatessens, which she ran for six years. In Canada, Scott served as Export Manager for Llomac International and was responsible for the sale of hotel supplies to the Caribbean. She was later appointed to the position of Assistant Director of Sales and later sales manager at the Best Western Primrose Hotel, Toronto. At the Embassy Suites Hotel, Toronto she led the sales team as Senior Sales Manager and then Director of Sales and Marketing. She ended her tenure in the hotel industry as Director of Sales and Marketing at Delta Toronto East Hotel.

Sandra Scott joined the Jamaica Tourist Board in 2005 as Regional Director for Canada. In that capacity, she oversaw the growth of Jamaica’s popularity as one of the top holiday destinations for Canadians. In Aug. 2011, she was appointed to the position of Deputy Director of Tourism, Marketing.

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