JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Some 40 local suppliers of goods and services yesterday (March 17) marketed their products to operators in the tourism sector at a special Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Meeting.
  • Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said the Government, through the Tourism Linkages Hub, has been working with partners in the industry to put “everybody in contact with each other.”
  • The linkages hub, the framework the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, has developed to strengthen existing linkages between tourism and other sectors of the Jamaican economy and forge new ones.

Some 40 local suppliers of goods and services yesterday (March 17) marketed their products to operators in the tourism sector at a special Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Meeting.

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment’s Tourism Linkages Council, the session, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, entailed

15-minute meetings throughout the day between executives of supplier companies and managers of properties, restaurants, attractions and other tourism entities.

The event provided for the placement of orders, discussion on contracts and prices, as well as other areas of business.

It involved collaboration with the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and other partners.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said the Government, through the Tourism Linkages Hub, has been working with partners in the industry to put “everybody in contact with each other.”

The move, he said, has provided increased opportunity for members of the productive sector “that really are out there aggressively seeking the business.”

The Tourism Minister noted that previously, Jamaican producers, whether in manufacturing or agriculture, had shared that they “couldn’t get through the door, couldn’t get to meet the persons,” particularly the new hoteliers.

He pointed out that the common complaint was that by the time contact is made the hoteliers would have already done their contracts “to do their beds, their curtains and everything that was necessary.”

“For years, we have been talking about ‘eat what you grow, utilise the things made in Jamaica’, but we have to make that happen. Over the last two years, with the formation of the Tourism Linkages Hub, we have been taking that one step closer to reality every day,” the Minister said.

He pointed out that the contacts that the suppliers make during the day-long event “can really go a long way to building relationships that can be profitable for both the tourist sector as well as all other sectors of the economy.”

“We believe that here in Jamaica, especially now with the economies of scale that are produced with the number of rooms that are coming on stream, as well as the number of visitors that we have coming, that it gives opportunities for our Jamaican producers, who we believe, can produce in the quantities necessary, with the quality necessary, and at the price that is competitive,” he said.

President of the JHTA, Nicola Madden-Greig, said the entity strongly believes that the linkages hub “has tremendous potential to do so much towards ensuring that our local suppliers to the industry have an opportunity to sell to the three million plus visitors that we have coming in.”

“As tourism grows, there is an opportunity for those goods and services to be provided to the industry…and regionally, and also when persons go back home, they will demand those products and services in their own home town and that equals export opportunities for Jamaicans,” she said.

The Kingston speed networking meeting was held to accommodate several companies that were unable to participate in the inaugural event held in Montego Bay in January.

The Montego Bay event saw the participation of about 50 hoteliers and attractions, as well as 80 suppliers to the industry and over 1,000 appointments were scheduled.

The linkages hub, the framework the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, has developed to strengthen existing linkages between tourism and other sectors of the Jamaican economy and forge new ones.

The mission is to position and assist the tourism sector to increase its demand for and consumption of goods and services that can be competitively sourced in Jamaica.

The Tourism Linkages Council provides general oversight and guidance on all matters related to the ongoing initiative to strengthen tourism linkages with other sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture and entertainment.