Feature
Chairperson of the Tourism Ministry’s Gastronomy Network, Nicola Madden-Greig.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • Local and international participants in the just-concluded Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) are hailing the tourism trade show as a success, with several important business contacts made that could result in increased visitor arrivals to the island.
  • President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson, tells JIS News that from every indication, JAPEX 2019 “truly delivered” for Jamaica and its tourism partners.
  • “There were over 1,000 business appointments between buyers and suppliers,” he says.

Local and international participants in the just-concluded Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) are hailing the tourism trade show as a success, with several important business contacts made that could result in increased visitor arrivals to the island.

President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson, tells JIS News that from every indication, JAPEX 2019 “truly delivered” for Jamaica and its tourism partners.

“There were over 1,000 business appointments between buyers and suppliers,” he says.

Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) President, Omar Robinson.

“This was an affirmation of Jamaica as a premier and first-choice destination… and also our relevance in the marketplace,” he adds.

Chairperson of the Tourism Ministry’s Gastronomy Network, Nicola Madden Greig, agrees.

She says the interest from countries, including a strong contingent from Latin America, was “simply phenomenal”.

Mrs. Madden Greig, who is Group Director of Marketing and Sales with the Courtleigh Hospitality Group, tells JIS News that she was particularly pleased about the interest shown in Kingston, adding that “we do expect to see more visitors coming into the capital city”.

Sales and Reservation Manager at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in St. Andrew, Maurice Bryan, says the interactions with overseas tour operators were well coordinated and “many great contacts” were made.

“It was a very well put together event and I join in the commendation of the organisers. Tourism is the number-one industry in this country and we have to continue to promote it at the global level, which is why tradeshows like JAPEX are so important,” he notes.

Meanwhile, the large contingent of international tour operators from the United States, Latin America and as far away as Russia, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, were pleased about the contacts made and have pledged to market Jamaica overseas.

“I have made some very good links with a number of local companies and will be pushing Jamaica when I get home,” Swedish tour operator, Celia Larsson tells JIS News.

“Everyone has just been wonderful here at JAPEX and I also got a chance to see some of your beautiful island,” she adds.

Travel consultant from Denmark, Hanna Schwensen, says she was “blown away” by the JAPEX experience.

Latin American tour operators, who came to the island for Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) 2019, took time out to enjoy the Mystic Mountain attraction in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

 

“I made some very important contacts while here in Jamaica,” she notes.

“JAPEX is really a good opportunity for sellers and buyers to meet, and everything just simply exceeded all my expectations. This is a very beautiful country that will continue to attract a lot of visitors,” she says.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, for his part, says that the JHTA and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) must be commended for once again “bringing together some of our most important tourism partners for JAPEX 2019”.

“There were so many diverse products and exhibitors to see and interact with, but best of all was the networking… the one-on-one interaction…the opportunity to do business and close deals,” he notes.

Mr. Bartlett says he is “extremely grateful” for the continued support from suppliers, noting that their commitment to showcasing the best of what Jamaica has to offer has made JAPEX a top trade show.

 

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, addressing journalists during Tuesday’s (September 3) press conference at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston.

 

“To the buyers from all over the world, we want to say a special thank you for coming, and we can tell, based on the feedback we have been getting, that they were very impressed,” he tells JIS News.

The Tourism Minister says he is happy that many of the overseas visitors took time out to experience some of the island’s many “breathtaking attractions” and to get to see “our incomparable hotels and white sand beaches… and of course, to listen to some reggae”.

JAPEX is the island’s premier trade show for the hospitality and tourism sector, hosted annually by the JHTA in association with the JTB.

It affords overseas and local industry representatives the opportunity to meet in a trade-floor setting to negotiate, discuss, and confirm arrangements to bring business to Jamaica.

JAPEX 2019 was held from September 9 to 11 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James.

Supplier-delegates included the island’s all-inclusive and European Plan (EP) hotels, adults-only and family-friendly resorts, as well as attractions, airlines, and ground tour operators.