KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says more Jamaicans need to own the inputs of tourism so that the country can benefit from a raise in the level of retention of earnings from the industry.
Speaking at the third staging of the Tourism Linkages Network’s ‘Christmas in July’ event at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Minister Bartlett shared that his Ministry is pushing the Linkages initiative to tackle the industry’s leakages by encouraging greater production of local products and facilitating direct networking opportunities for local producers.
“The strong linkages established today between producers and buyers are important to our economic development. As it is the world over, micro, small and medium tourism enterprises are vital because 80% of global tourism is driven by them. If we are to seriously talk about retaining the revenue from tourism then we have to build out the capacity of this 80% to drive more creative output and be able to deliver on the demand that tourism brings,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister therefore applauded the event organizers for successfully bringing together some 120 local producers of authentic gift and souvenir items – 80 of which were new to the exhibition – to showcase their products to corporate executives and industry players.
The Christmas in July exhibition is a collaborative effort of the Ministry’s Tourism Linkages Network and its partners, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
Products on display included traditional souvenirs of all kinds, such as corporate, home and decorative accessories; desktop solutions; specialty foods and aromatherapy products.
“The items on display today are an authentic expression of our Jamaican men and women who use their hands to tell the story of our rich, local culture. Based on what I can see around me, I am sure that this year’s staging of Christmas in July will be equally successful, if not better,” said the Minister.
Sharing in the sentiments of the Minister, exhibitors were equally excited about being involved in this year’s staging of the Ministry of Tourism’s Christmas in July event and praised the event as being a major success.
“Christmas in July is a great gateway to get your products out there and gain market access. We came back this year, hoping that we would get some more prospects for retail outlets. So far we have gotten one and even have other prospective retailers,” said Aviola Accessories proprietor, Melissa Preddie.
Buyers were equally impressed with the offerings and the potential the event has for leveraging business prospects for local producers.
“I think it’s wonderful. It’s a good display for upcoming businesses, young entrepreneurs and even businesses that have not been in the forefront. I see very creative products and I hope that it reaches the people it needs to reach and reduces the manufacturers who copy our Jamaican branded items worldwide, for their benefit,” said Paulette Lewis.