Kingston to Stage JAPEX 2008


Hundreds of overseas buyers and local suppliers in the tourism sector are expected to converge at the Hilton Kingston from April 25 to 28, for the 18th staging of Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX).
JAPEX, which is Jamaica’s premier tourism trade show, is an annual event of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and is supported by every Jamaican organization involved in the development, promotion and sale of the island’s tourism product.
JHTA President, Wayne Cummings, speaking at the media launch for the event at the Hilton on Tuesday (Dec. 11), said that the JHTA is looking to JAPEX 2008 to strengthen Jamaica’s position as a preferred tourist destination.
Commenting on Kingston’s choice as the venue for the event, Mr. Cummings noted that urban cultural tourism is popular in cities around the world and, the capital city, with its restaurants, art galleries, museums, and night clubs as well as being renowned as the centre of reggae, is the “heartbeat of Jamaica.”
“In a world where cities rather than countries are the real players in a competitive global economy, culture is gaining greater recognition as a vehicle of economic and urban development. To this end, Kingston is playing a significant role in bringing visitors to our shores, whether for business or leisure,” he stated.
According to Mr. Cummings, Kingston, with its proximity to historic sites such as Port Royal, Spanish Town, and the University of the West Indies, is well-placed to respond to the needs and expectations of the growing number of visitors to Jamaica, whom he said, are attracted to the city’s rich and varied array of cultural, business, entertainment, shopping, and sports attractions.
“With heritage tourism being one of the fastest growing attractions and tourists opting for destinations that boast strong cultural, national and built environments, including museums, art galleries, and historic preservation sites, Kingston is not short of any of these,” he boasted.
In endorsing Kingston’s selection to host JAPEX 2008, Tourism Minister, Ed Bartlett, underscored the capital’s importance as a “transit point for visitors from across the world.”
“It is our duty to make Kingston a strong resort centre not only because it offers greater allurement for cultural enrichment and imbibing and is the centre of some of the strongest heritage products, but because it is the centre of commerce and business and, indeed, it is the reference point that people use to define Jamaica,” Mr. Bartlett stated.

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