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Tourism interests, including hoteliers, service providers and purchasers from across the region, participated in a two-day tourism linkage seminar, which ended at the Wyndham Rose Hall Resort and Country Club, today (July 27).
The seminar, which was organized by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), under the theme: ‘Winning business opportunities – maximizing local links in the tourism chain’, was held to ensure that local suppliers are adequately equipped and poised to capitalize on a wide range of opportunities that are expected to come from multi-billion dollar investments in the tourist industry in the coming years.
It was also aimed at increasing domestic sourcing by foreign and local investors in the tourism industry and to deepen and upgrade existing linkages in those sub-sectors in which Jamaica had competitive advantages.
According to a statement from JAMPRO, “within the tourism sector, the projected increase in room stock by almost 40 per cent over the next three to five years is envisaged to result in a plethora of opportunities for Jamaica, transcending many sectors of the economy, as there will undoubtedly be an increasing need for associated goods and services, such as construction, manufacturing, furniture, food/agri-business, information and communications technology and entertainment”.
Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, in her address at the opening ceremony, said that the programme was being staged “at a most appropriate time when sensitizing of participants on international trends and solidifying relationships between local suppliers and tourism investors” was critical.
“The Jamaican economy is on a path of monumental growth, as we have witnessed a steady increase over the last five years in the level of foreign investments that we have been able to attract. The onus is now on us to ensure that the imminent opportunities arising as a result of this investment redound to the domestic economy,” the Minister said.
She stressed that the significance of creating backward linkages, especially for developing countries, were indisputable, as those alliances created a strong channel for the transfer of both tangible and intangible assets, such as skills, knowledge and technology from foreign affiliates to local firms and institutions.
“The increased investment in the tourism sector will invariably result in the need for reliable supplies of goods and services. These suppliers range from purveyors of food and beverages, contractors, tour and travel agency operators and attraction operators,” the Minister said.
“The aim is to get these suppliers to a stage where they have retooled and are meeting industry standards and have formed sustainable linkages with the tourism industry and the neighbouring communities. By extension, we hope that some of our smaller suppliers will advance to a stage where they can become exporters, thereby creating international linkages,” she added.