The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has premiered a lively and exciting video promoting its weekly Irie Hour series for Canadian travel advisors.
The colourful and upbeat promo, which was produced by Pax Global Media, spotlights the JTB’s popular chill and chat forum, which takes place virtually over Zoom every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. EST.
“Irie Hour is our commitment to [travel] agents that we’re in this together,” said Angella Bennett, Regional Director for Canada at the JTB. “Not just in words, but absolutely in this together. We celebrate their milestones, their love of Jamaica, and their commitment to the island. And we give gifts of gratitude every second we can to keep their spirits going!”
Irie Hour (Irie, a Jamaican word for something that is nice, good, or pleasing) has been a labour of love since the JTB started the web-based series in May 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic escalated.
“We realized the things we did in person just weren’t going to happen anymore,” Dan Hamilton, the JTB’s District Sales Manager for Canada, told PAX. “And so, after a few weeks of allowing folks to absorb the impact of what happened, we decided we would keep Jamaica alive. We decided that we would not go dark.”
Connect with Jamaica
Irie Hour, at heart, is everything but dark as the fun and informative sessions shine a bright light on the latest tourism developments in Jamaica while encouraging a positive, supportive and festive (virtual) environment.
The sessions, which run from 2:30 p.m. to roughly 4:00 p.m. EST, typically begin with sounds of Jamaican beats playing in the background as agents log in and see the JTB staff moving and grooving on camera.
A tropical shirt-wearing Hamilton, Irie Hour’s beloved emcee, gets the Zoom room going with a high-energy welcome before passing the mic over to the JTB’s Canadian BDM team – Louise Paquette, Racquel Queensborough and Emma Madsen – who provide updates and answer questions submitted by agents.
The latest on Jamaica’s health and safety protocols, entry requirements, and how to sell Jamaica amid the pandemic, are a key part of the broadcast.
But what's unique to Irie Hour are the exclusive on-location videos from island-based correspondents and suppliers that provide authentic, on-the-ground updates.
The Irie Hour “Bartender Report,” for example, showcases a new cocktail, prepared in real time at a select resort, each week.
Then there’s the “Sunshine Report,” a much-loved, on-location segment hosted by Senior Business Development Manager Jerron Britton, who is based in Montego Bay.
Each week, Britton shares information directly from Jamaica (often live from a pristine beach, much to the envy of agents) by showing off the island’s beautiful assets, from must-try jerk chicken to swimming spots at the famous Dunn's River Falls.
“We’re inspiring agents to dream of Jamaica again,” said Bennett, noting how Irie Hour highlights places in Jamaica that some agents, perhaps, have never seen or heard of before.
Every Irie Hour includes a supplier presentation and also ensures there’s enough time for questions.
Celebrating birthdays and professional wins, as well as fun games (with great prizes!) are key components, too.
“Irie hour is about an irie feeling,” said Bennett. “It’s crazy, it’s fun…it’s also soulful and connecting.”
And the response, over the past year, has been “phenomenal,” Bennett added, noting how Irie Hour can see up to 280 loyal travel advisors, each week, from all parts of Canada.
“It’s their escape hour,” she said. “Every week the show is different.”
Keeping agents in the loop
Hamilton called Irie Hour a “happy place” and stressed how it has become an important tool for keeping the trade informed as news evolves amid the pandemic.
“Travel advisors are the single most important link to business in Jamaica,” Hamilton said. “Our visitors tell us they book through travel agencies. It’s therefore important that the sellers of travel be kept in the loop.”
“Irie Hour makes sure that everyone has the information they need, so when clients are ready to travel again, Jamaica will be top of mind.”
Register for a future Irie Hour session by clicking here!
What’s the vibe at Irie Hour? What do travel advisors think about it?
Watch the world premiere of the Jamaica Tourist Board’s new promo here!
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