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JIS News

The 17th staging of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) got underway yesterday (April 23), with an official opening ceremony at Margaritaville, Negril.
Staged annually by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the show brings to the island, the major players in the sector including tour operators, who package holidays to Jamaica; the retail travel agents, who sell holidays; and the trade and consumer press, which keeps persons up-to-date on what is happening in the industry.
An estimated 81 buyers and 216 supplier delegates are expected to attend the three-day event, in addition to 146 travel agents, and several local and international media representatives.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who officially declared the event open, lauded the diversity of offerings and service standards within the Jamaican tourism industry. She said that the success of tourism in Jamaica had long proved that the power of brand and the extent of influence within the industry did not depend on size. “Ours is a brand that signals beauty, resilience and competitiveness. We believe in one heart and one love and we believe in being number one in every way possible,” she stated.
Quoting statistics to show the continued improvements in visitor arrivals to the island, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said that last year, Jamaica recorded its best ever year in tourism, with over 1.4 million stopover visitors to the island. She pointed out that this was a 4.5 per cent increase over the previous year, and was a continuation of the upward trend over the last three years.
The momentum has continued into this year, with a 10.5 per cent improvement for the first quarter, when compared with the corresponding period for last year. In addition, more than 1.1 million cruise passengers visited the island last year, which was also a record amount.
The Prime Minister, who has served as Tourism Minister, highlighted the government’s commitment to the continued improvement within the industry, which should justify confidence in its future.
“The government of Jamaica has taken firm and bold steps, in particular through the establishment of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, to provide consistent funding for improvements in the quality of our tourism product across the island. We are pursuing effective strategies for developing and marketing our industry in line with local and international economic, technological, social and environmental demands,” she emphasized.
Mrs. Simpson Miller told the tourism partners present that she would be the number one salesperson for Jamaica, for tourism and for all Jamaican products.President of the JHTA, Horace Peterkin, in his address, expressed confidence that the staging of JAPEX in Negril, would result in more visitors coming to the smaller properties in the area. Pointing out that Jamaica and the wider Caribbean was in focus at this time, he expressed pride at the Jamaican product, which he noted, was richer, because of the various new properties coming on stream throughout the island.
The JAPEX show is being staged in a specially prepared building for the event, located on the Non Pariel road, in Negril.