Suzannah Newham

Feeling alright in Jamaica…

Salli Annette Coral Suzie in JamaicaIn January, our Jamaica team welcomed CEO Salli Felton and Destinations Officer Suzannah Newham to the island. Although Salli has been to the “Land of Wood and Water” several times before, this is her first visit since becoming CEO.

The visit comes at a time when we are starting to work more closely with Jamaica’s national tourism organisation to build partnerships which we hope will be the catalyst for creating more sustainable benefits from tourism. The schedule of meetings and site visits began in Kingston on the southern end of the island, and took us to Montego Bay via the north coastal roads through the scenic interior of the country.

Site visits included several craft markets, the cruise ship pier, the Hip Strip and a tour of Rastafari Indigenous Village (RIV), who are involved in a Travel Foundation project to improve business practice and generate more income from mainstream holidaymakers.

Salli was pleased with her Rastafari ‘immersion’ experience, while Suzannah delivered an important session on costing and pricing excursion products and was able to confirm our commitment to this project for the duration of 2015.

As one of Jamaica’s tourism slogans goes, ”Come to Jamaica, and feel alright”. So of course, there was delicious Devon House ice cream, braised oxtail, coconut water and spicy jerk pork and chicken, as well as Suzannah’s favourite – roasted breadfruit!

We look forward to sharing more on the fruits of our projects in Jamaica in the near future.

Recipe for a Thai Scoping Trip

Thailand_Andaman Discoveries

In November, two members of the Travel Foundation team headed to Thailand to conduct research into a potential new programme of activities. Below Melissa Bellamy and Suzannah Newham have provided the recipe for their scoping trip…

IngredientsThailand_food

  • 1 destination (the stunning Andaman Coast – Phuket and Phang Nga)
  • 2 flights (on the Thomson Dreamliner)
  • 3 hotels
  • 14 thunderstorms
  • 1148km driven (1130 by car and 18 by bike, in rain and shine)
  • 1 trek in flip flops (to see the ‘Big Tree’)
  • 1 trek in smart work shoes (to see a waterfall in Khao Lak National Park)
  • 5 different types of boat (speedboats, a local commuter boat, ferry boat, long tail boats and kayaks)
  • 72 contacts (including representatives from Andaman Discoveries, Centara, Destination Services, Hotel Beds, IUCN, JW Marriott, Khiri Travel, Khao Lak National Park, Phuket Adventures, Phuket Marine Biological Research Centre, Phuket Nature Tours, Sensi-Mar, Thaimueang Community Based Tourism group, Thaimueang National Park, TUI, Wild Asia, WWF-Thailand, as well as some key individuals and a variety of local communities).

Step 1

While in Thailand, combine all ingredients at 30 degrees (the average November temperature in Phuket) and allow to sweat in 85% humidity for approximately 2 weeks. Add a pinch of humour and a good dusting of inspiration, to taste.

Thailand - Dragon BoatsStep 2

Back in the UK, blend trip findings together and allow to marinate for a further few weeks. Skim impurities to reveal a clearer, cleaner final concept.

Step 3

Turn out a focused set of objectives.

Roll these out across 4 key areas (solid waste management in hotels, beach management and turtle protection, carrying capacities for hot spots within national parks, best practice in marine excursions).

The outcome of this recipe will be available on the Travel Foundation website in early 2015.Thailand_MelissaSusie

Visiting Bluefields Bay and Rastafari Indigenous Village in Jamaica

Suzannah Newham at Rastafari Indigenous Village

Suzannah Newham at Rastafari Indigenous Village

Suzannah Newham (Destinations Programme Officer) recently visited Jamaica to work with Annette Tingle (Jamaica Programmes Coordinator) to conduct scoping research and to visit existing project partners.

The trip took Suzannah and Annette away from the main resorts of Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios to the beautiful south coast. Here, the Travel Foundation are supporting The Caribsave Partnership in scoping the potential for new excursions which could support local fishing communities in diversifying their income while ensuring effective environmental stewardship of the Bluefields Bay and Gallon fish sanctuaries.

Scoping included extended time with the fishermen and wardens, as well as meetings with key tour operators, a tour of the historical sites of Bluefields Bay, a visit to a cave network with Cockpit Country Adventure Tours, a trip to Treasure Beach and stops at both Appleton Rum Estate and YS Falls – all “must sees” for trips to Jamaica.

The results of this research visit are currently being considered by Caribsave – keep an eye on the Travel Foundation website for updates and news about the new excursions.

Back in Montego Bay, Suzannah and Annette also visited the Rastafari Indigenous Village (RIV) community to work on a recently launched project which aims to develop mainstream market links for RIV’s unique micro-excursion. Following visits from TUI UK & Ireland staff, recommendations for small improvements have been made, and all RIV community members have been offered the opportunity to experience an excursion already sold to Thomson and First Choice customers. Jill Carter (Head of Retail at TUI UK & Ireland) will be visiting the community later in July to deliver a training workshop, alongside Annette, on customer expectations.

The aim is to trial RIV excursions with TUI UK & Ireland customers by September this year.

We would like to thank Rhino Car Hire and their partners in Jamaica, Island Car Rentals, for their support with car hire for this trip – not only was the car invaluable in terms of covering the 750km+ of road for the scoping exercise, it also proved a great way to see the country and find hidden gems off the beaten track.