The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has facilitated over $200 million in sales of local goods to the tourism sector over the last two years under its national linkages strategy.
“And this is not the full sales, as a number of business takes place which is not necessarily captured in our data,” said JAMPRO Export Manager, Marlene Porter.
“The furniture sector has seen some tremendous growth. In agriculture, a lot of them (hotels) are virtually buying all of their vegetables locally,” she noted.
Ms. Porter was speaking to JIS News at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Monday, April 29, where the three-day Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) is being held.
She noted that since 2004, JAMPRO has taken on, in a very structured way, the promotion of local products.
“For the tourism sector we have developed a national linkages strategy and we are continuing to work with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) to build the linkages within the local economy,” she stated.
She said over the years, there has been a steady rise in the use of local products in the tourism sector, citing furniture and agriculture as the areas benefiting the most from the collaboration.
“I am confident that there is a commitment from the sector to support local businesses,” she stated.
Come the end of September, JAMPRO will stage its business linkages event at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, which will run for about three days.
“This is the prime buying time for the hospitality sector, and this event will bring out local suppliers of goods and services, and the buyers from the hospitality sector, the purchasing managers, and owners of the gift shops,” Ms. Porter told JIS News.
“We match the buyers and suppliers together. We are encouraging the buyers to come out and support our business linkages event,” she urged.
The JAMPRO official said there are very good offerings in the local producing market, and persons should visit and utilize the agency’s Jamaica Business Opportunity Service (JBOS). They can obtain information by visiting www.jamaicabos.com, where there is a comprehensive on-line directory of suppliers and buyers, and up-to-date information for partnership opportunities for local firms.
JBOS is a powerful matchmaking tool that is designed to bring business opportunities to entrepreneurs, by systematically connecting them with local and international buyers and suppliers. It also facilitates a direct communication channel to suppliers for efficient purchasing decisions.
Turning to the business being conducted on the JAPEX floor, the Export Manager said the feedback from tourism stakeholders, indicate that are opportunities for local businesses.
“They (hospitality sector) are optimistic, they are seeing good business, and it is looking good for the hotel sector,” she told JIS News.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter