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From left: Camille Needham, executive director, Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA); Nicola Madden Greig, president, JHTA; Sandra Scott, deputy director, Jamaica Tourist Board; and Donovan Perkins, chairman, Tourism Linkage Council, following the press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus on September 9 to announce the Jamaica Product Exchange scheduled for September 21-23, 2014 at the Montego Bay Conference Centre.

Tourism Linkages Hub to build and strengthen business relationships at JAPEX 2014

More than 60 local suppliers of goods and services, including manufacturers, will participate in the upcoming Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) 2014 trade show, through the coordinated efforts of the Tourism Linkages Hub and other partner entities. The initiative is in keeping with ongoing efforts to improve the linkages between tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors of the economy.

The linkages hub has partnered with the Jamaica Promotions Corporation, the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), to facilitate the participation of the suppliers.

JAPEX, the single most important travel trade show for Jamaica's tourism sector, brings together hundreds of travel agents, wholesalers and tour operators from Europe and the Americas, as well as leading suppliers in the island's tourism sector, for important business negotiations. The annual event is staged by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association in association with the Jamaica Tourist Board. The three-day trade show will be held from September 21-23, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James.

Speaking recently at the JAPEX 2014 press conference, chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council, Donovan Perkins, said the primary focus of the linkages initiative at the event will be on the procurement needs of hotels, restaurants, attractions, gift shops and spa facilities. "In preparation for this, over the months since its inception, our linkages hub has been meeting directly with procurement officers in the market and encouraging their support for local sectors," said Perkins.

Variety of products

Through the efforts of the Tourism Linkages Hub, some 33 manufacturing companies will showcase a variety of products, including furniture and bedding, food and beverages, textile and sewn products, chemicals, industrial supplies, cosmetics, printing and packaging, windows and doors. It was also noted that 30 suppliers of art, gift, craft and aromatherapy products will also participate in the event; while RADA will feature suppliers of agricultural produce and other value-added products.

Similarly, the linkages hub is working with the Entertainment Division of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment to incorporate the entertainment sector in the event, which will entail a showcase of high-quality Jamaican entertainment during the event's opening ceremony.

Underscoring the significance of the Tourism Linkages Hub, the chairman said, "In today's economic environment, it is clear that for countries to thrive, they need to have coordinated activities that result in greater cooperation between established economic segments, as well as emerging ones."

Perkins pointed out that central banks in significant economic zones have been pumping trillions of dollars into their economies, all in an effort to create jobs, revive growth and instil market confidence in the future. "Unfortunately, Jamaica does not have this option in its arsenal to encourage growth. However, I think many will agree that business opportunities can develop and become sustainable, if good working relationships can be established and encouraged between key interest groups," he said.

Perkins added that, "Good business is based on strong relationships, and JAPEX provides the opportunity to build, strengthen and sustain local relationships. JAPEX is effectively our first linkages tool, created years ago, and its success is now well recognised."

"Our objective is to become as effective and as successful as JAPEX. In doing so, Jamaica's future will be brighter," said the linkages council chairman. 

 

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