JIS News

Business Development Manager at JAMPRO, Lisa Bell has emphasized that it was very important for companies operating in sub-sectors that support tourism, to be cognizant of the imminent changes in the hotel sector, and the challenges and opportunities they would bring.
It is to this end that JAMPRO will be hosting a two-day tourism business linkages seminar on February 22 and 23 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.”The target audience is the local private sector and we are looking for companies, which operate in a broad range of industries which support the tourism sector. So practically speaking, we are looking for people who operate in tourism attractions, who operate in the transportation sub sector, who are involved in human resource development, health care services and even as far as agro-processing,” Mrs. Bell explained.
“As we all know, tourism affects a broad range of sub-sectors and the whole focus is to build business linkages between the multi-national corporations, which are coming to Jamaica, and the domestic economy,” she added.
In a JIS interview today (February 21), the Business Development Manager pointed out that, “already we know the room count is going to be expanded by some 5,000 rooms in the next two to three years”.
This represented almost a 30 to 40 per cent increase in the sector’s total room stock, she noted. “So we are talking about a significant expansion. We recognize that these multi-nationals bring opportunities for not only local sourcing, but ultimately sourcing to the larger group of companies. It gives us an ‘in’ into their supply chain. Many of these companies operate in multiple countries,” she said.
One such example, she noted, was the Iberostar chain, which operated in 21 countries. “There is an incredible opportunity for us if we are able to bring our suppliers up to the globally competitive standards.and tap into their chain to supply those other countries,” Mrs. Bell said.
In light of this, the seminar will feature representatives from all of the multi-national chains, which are planning to build in Jamaica, as well as a tourism business linkage consultant. At least 60 private sector companies will be represented.
“This is only the beginning. We are going to have follow-up sessions as well as we are hoping for a company exposition and ultimately to put in a medium term programme, which allows local companies to develop, so that they can meet these standards,” she said.
Mrs. Bell pointed out that the particular hotel chains that were expanding in the island, were chains coming from a new market and “we are unaccustomed or unfamiliar in knowing what the requirements are for these Spanish hotel chains”.
“So we want to sensitize the Jamaican public about what it takes to supply these globally competitive firms. We want to assist our Jamaican companies in realising our opportunities and helping them develop to meet the challenge,” she added.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of JAMPRO, Michael McMorris told JIS News that the agency’s tourism investment targeting strategy for Europe, had seen remarkable success so far, with the opening of Spanish hotel Riu in 2001, in Negril. He pointed out that Spanish arrivals to the island had literally “exploded” as a result of this development.
JAMPRO’s tourism investment targeting strategy seeks to diversify the number of brand choices available to tourists who may not be familiar with some local chains. “Our strategy has been to go after these large integrated European chains,” Mr. McMorris noted.
The seminar will highlight some of the key issues in fostering increased competitiveness of local firms with particular emphasis on those which may have the opportunity to provide goods/services to the hotel sector. It will also bring together experts in tourism and linkage creation as well as a panel of investors who will outline some of the specific requirements, which will have to be met.

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