JIS News

Hundreds of overseas buyers and local suppliers in the tourism sector are meeting at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, in St. James, from May 11 to 13 for the 19th staging of Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX).
The annual event offers the ideal forum for leading suppliers of the Jamaica tourism product to meet with travel wholesalers and tour operators from Europe and the Americas in a professionally organised business exchange.
Montego Bay Area Chairman for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Richard Burke, explained to JIS News that the three-day affair is a marketing opportunity for the hospitality industry in Jamaica, and brings in major travel partners to come and meet with the hotels to do contracts, site inspections and generally have a mix of business and social events.
“The purpose of JAPEX is especially critical to the smaller hotels that cannot afford to travel around the world and see the major tour operators and travel agents. So, this is an opportunity which brings them here to Jamaica and allows just about anyone associated with the hotel or tourism business, to be able to meet with these major players,” Mr. Burke pointed out.
The Chairman said that a number of tourism partners are expected from United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.
“We have our major US partners-Travel Impressions, Fun Jet and Apple. We have all the big players out of Canada, including Air Canada Vacations, Sunwing and our European tour operators,” Mr. Burke highlighted.
He added that some 300 retail travel agents and a large press contingent from overseas will be doing island wide site inspections and tours of Jamaica.
Highlighting the timeliness of the event, the Chairman noted that, “with the present state of the world economy, there has been a number of issues that are critical at this time to clear.with the state of travel, people are renegotiating contracts to make markets more attractive and many tour operators are redirecting their business to other markets, so this is a perfect opportunity for Jamaica to capitalise on this (JAPEX), as there is a lot of unused potential out there that we need to garner and grow our industry.”
Pointing to the major activities of JAPEX, Mr. Burke outlined that the three-day event will include round table discussions; appointment scheduling; networking and scheduled tours of hotels and attractions.
“I expect that JAPEX will give everyone the opportunity to meet with key players and see what their needs are, see if there are new niches that we can fill and where they have excess capacity, to see if we are able to accommodate that capacity,” Mr. Burke said.
Pointing to the distinct advantage of the event, the Chairman said that JAPEX presents an opportunity for product exchange, local and international linkages to be created and allow hoteliers to share their best practices and challenges, and market their products and services.
“The hospitality industry is all about relationships and the more opportunity you have to see and meet with these people, is critical to you getting your share of the business,” Mr. Burke pointed out.
JAPEX is Jamaica’s premier tourism trade show, put on by the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and is supported by every Jamaican organisation involved in the development, promotion and sale of the island’s tourism product.

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