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“If rolling into a ski resort in a stretch Hummer is what your client wants, we can provide that”


Paul Pennicook, director of tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), has stood down following the end of his three-year term. He officially left his post on

August 18. The JTB is now recruiting

for a successor. Deputy director of tourism, sales, Donnie Dawson will serve as acting tourism director during the interim. The JTB said Pennicook had given “much attention to modernising operations” in his time as director.

World Travel Market has boosted its executive team with the appointment of Jeannette Gilbert as portfolio head of marketing. She joins WTM from her role as head of marketing at African low-cost airline fastjet. Previously she worked at Celebrity Cruises and will run marketing across all events in the WTM portfolio including WTM London, Arabian Travel Market, WTM Latin America and WTM Africa. Gilbert said: “I am delighted to join such a respected, well-known global brand, and to work with a team of seasoned travel industry professionals. It’s an exciting time to come onboard, as the WTM Portfolio is set to smash last year’s achievement of $7 billion worldwide industry deals.”


Why video games are playing on my mind

SHOULD YOU get half way through this column and think “What a load of old…...” please don’t blame me. Blame Twitter’s @LaurasTravel (of Laura’s Travel Village) for sharing a Guardianarticle entitled “Video games versus holidays: take a screen break”, which got my mind racing and left me fearful. The article recounts how a

Nintendo Game Boy rescued the writer from the repetitive, dreary summer holidays of his youth. Via the machine’s luminous green

screen he escaped the cold, wet beaches and sandy ham sandwiches of Cornwall to discover exciting new worlds. It is this “opportunity to flee one’s immediate vicinity in favour of another, perhaps more preferable place” that our writer suggests is “at the heart of the video game’s strange magic”. It’s not a magic that has ever

GETAWAY PUZZLE ANSWERS FROM PAGE 52 Spot the difference: Missing window, red t-shirt logo, shop sign, stick beater, drum colours, pink t-shirt Destination detective: Mozambique Zoom-in challenge: A) Enterprise; B) Europcar; C) Hertz; D) Avis Scrambled: Canary Islands, Abu Dhabi, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Cape Verde, Dubai, Malta (sun cream)

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attracted me; nevertheless as I continue reading, a frightening vision of the travel industry of 50 years in the future enters my mind: “As technology enables video game worlds to be ever more finely rendered on the screen, so the tug of digital wanderlust grows stronger. No need to gamble your wages on a plane ticket to a destination whose wonders might be fully exhausted

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hundreds of other virtual tourists. No spending hours in airport

security. No flying on a cramped aircraft where service and comfort has long since been sacrificed for profit. No transfer that doesn’t turn up, or hotel that isn’t quite what it portrayed itself as. And no queuing with the masses to visit each overpriced attraction. See why I’m alarmed now? Could

Richard Dixon, director, Holidaysplease

three days into a fortnight’s trip. For a fraction of the cost, a video game will transport you to Hong Kong (Sleeping Dogs), Paris (Broken Sword), Detroit (Watch Dogs), Tokyo (Persona 5) or Venice (Assassin’s Creed 2), all from the comfort of the fat couch”. Imagine the traveller of the future

considering visiting the Sistine Chapel or the Great Wall of China. It is within the realms of possibility that within a jiffy they could be there, albeit not in body, but fully immersed in a virtual reality world, sharing the sights and sounds of their destination of choice with

virtual tourism signal the end of Mr Cook’s travel industry as we have always known it? Spooked by this thought I

interrupted the Holidaysplease tech team’s afternoon tea break to share my vision of travel in 2067. Tom replied: “Yep, I can see that.”

Josh felt that people would certainly use the technology for quick taster breaks, while Ryan foresaw consumers sick of technology and therefore desperate to escape and experience the real world again! In this cross-section of perspectives

lies the travel industry of 2017. Technology is a tool for success and a major threat in equal measure. What our industry across every

sector must recognise is the need to step up and deliver a product that excites, fulfils and inspires. Fail to do so, and virtual tourism may just catch on.

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