JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Tourism stakeholders are hailing the success which the annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) trade show and exposition continues to record, 27 years after its first staging.
  • Chairman of the Ocho Rios Resort Board, Dr. Roosevelt Crooks, notes that Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage makes the island a “natural draw” for visitors.
  • For his part, senior partner in the Dolphin Cove marine attraction in St. Ann, Stafford Burrowes, tells JIS News that JAPEX is a much-anticipated event that continues to serve its purpose.

Tourism stakeholders are hailing the success which the annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) trade show and exposition continues to record, 27 years after its first staging.

Chief among them is Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who describes it as “the single most important business-to-business travel trade show for Jamaica’s tourism industry.”

Mr. Bartlett points out that the event facilitates the convergence of international travel agents, wholesalers and tour operators as well as the leading local tourism industry suppliers.

In noting that over 300 participants attended this year’s 27th staging at the Montego Bay Conference Centre from April 29 to May 1, Mr. Bartlett contends that “the importance of JAPEX cannot be overemphasised.”

“What JAPEX does is to provide a fantastic opportunity to renew relationships and build partnerships that are so important to tourism’s success,” the Minister adds.

In arguing that Jamaica cannot rely solely on destination marketing to build and maintain its “strong brand,” Mr. Bartlett says public-private partnerships are pivotal in this regard, “and we welcome platforms such as JAPEX, which afford such opportunities and interactions.”

Mr. Bartlett also says he was satisfied with this year’s strong representation of the tourism linkages network, “as we continue to deepen the (connection) between tourism and other key sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture and entertainment.”

The Tourism Linkages Network facilitated the participation of stakeholders from the construction and entertainment sectors including developers, architects and engineers as well as entertainment practitioners.

Tourism Director, Paul Pennicook, is equally upbeat about JAPEX, citing it as the “perfect platform” that continues to showcase the products of local suppliers, particularly small stakeholders.

“There are…small hotels, villas and attractions which cannot afford to attend overseas trade shows and expos. JAPEX gives them that opportunity to interact directly with key industry players and the results have shown that Jamaica’s tourism has benefited significantly,” he notes.

Mr. Pennicook advises that the change in the date for this year’s JAPEX, from September to April, was a strategic marketing decision aimed at creating sufficient time within which to maximise Jamaica’s promotional campaign slanted towards the 2016/17 winter tourist season which starts on December 15.

Chairman of the Ocho Rios Resort Board, Dr. Roosevelt Crooks, notes that Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage makes the island a “natural draw” for visitors.

He adds that, in this regard, visiting delegates attending JAPEX queried the possibility of heritage tours being organised, particularly targeting the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.

“We have a duty to respond to these needs, and that is why we have a show like JAPEX. It’s more than just the sand, sun and sea…the visitor wants more than just the beach. The tourist wants to experience the culture of the destination also, and we are here to facilitate that through this important trade show,” Dr. Crooks states.

For his part, senior partner in the Dolphin Cove marine attraction in St. Ann, Stafford Burrowes, tells JIS News that JAPEX is a much-anticipated event that continues to serve its purpose.

“The high level of personal interaction between sellers and buyers is what makes JAPEX so special. This is our premier local tourism trade show and one where everybody tries to have a presence,” he says, adding that it “has done wonders for our industry.”

This was evidenced by the diverse destinations from which overseas participants came. They include the traditional markets of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom as well as new and emerging locations in Latin America and Eastern Europe.