Activities are in high gear in Ocho Rios for the staging of Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) 2012, the country’s premier tourism trade show.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who spoke to journalists following a tour of the resort town on September 6, to assess the work being done, said Ocho Rios will be ready for the three-day event, which gets underway month-end.
He said the organising team is "well advanced with some of the (preparatory) work, and we are satisfied that we will be ready in time for JAPEX." He said there are also contingency plans in place to cover any unexpected issue or matter that may arise.
"A number of agencies are working together to pull it together…and it will culminate in time for JAPEX. So we are comfortable that the plans are in place and everything should be ready for JAPEX," he stated.
The trade show, which will take place from September 30 to October 2 at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, is being hosted by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). It will provide a setting for suppliers within the local tourism sector to meet, network and negotiate with travel wholesalers and tour operators from around the world.
The Minister, who was accompanied by State Minister, Hon. Damion Crawford, and tourism officials and stakeholders, held discussions with President of the JHTA, Evelyn Smith, members of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), and Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Desmond Gilmore.
He also took the opportunity to visit Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF)-financed projects in and around Ocho Rios.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Resort Advisory Board for the parishes of St. Ann and St. Mary, Dr. Roosevelt Crooks, said the preparatory work is "well-advanced."
This includes drain cleaning, bushing, and the painting of curb walls, buildings and railings. Numerous signs will also be erected, while several light poles and walls will be repaired and painted.
"We are really improving the aesthetics of the town, giving it some homestyle spunk, and we are theming the entire corridor from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, since that is the corridor most of the participants will be travelling through," he stated.
He informed that a deadline of September 25 has been set for completion of the preparations.