- The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, through the Tourism Linkages Hub, has been working with its partners to meet the demand for products, services and skills within tourism and other related sectors.
- The aim is to increase the consumption of goods and services that can be competitively sourced in Jamaica.
- Head of the linkages hub, Carolyn McDonald-Riley, said that opportunities have been created for providers in areas such as entertainment, agriculture and manufacturing.
The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, through the Tourism Linkages Hub, has been working with its partners to meet the demand for products, services and skills within tourism and other related sectors.
The aim is to increase the consumption of goods and services that can be competitively sourced in Jamaica.
Head of the linkages hub, Carolyn McDonald-Riley, said that opportunities have been created for providers in areas such as entertainment, agriculture and manufacturing.
She noted, for example, that the hub has been working with the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) to identify persons and entities to address the shortage and demand for uniforms.
“We had to look closely at the uniform sector as this is a market that is very much underserved. For the hotel industry alone, we need three to four different uniforms for one hotel as it employs hundreds of workers and each person needs at least four sets of uniforms, so it is a huge market,” she said.
Mrs. McDonald-Riley, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, said gaps have also been identified in entertainment, in terms of entertainment managers, sound engineers, disc jockeys and performers.
“Some hotels have various groupings and segments, which call for different types of entertainment…there is also need for props, the making of the costumes, the machinery and coordinators to organise the various entertainment packages…so the opportunities are there but it needs to be communicated to our training institutions and population,” she pointed out.
She informed that hoteliers and other business entities were able to identify and source entertainment groups and personnel from the recently held Arts in the Park, where local dance talents showcased their skills.
Mrs. McDonald-Riley told JIS News that the hub is looking at filling demands for persons with specialised skills, such as chefs.
“If you want, for instance chefs that specialise, they would have had to be trained overseas…so we are looking at how to fill this demand, the training requirements and also at the number of persons we give work permit,” she pointed out.
Other areas that the hub will be examining include the use of local spices and the introduction of a wholesale market.
“We will be having a spices show because we have a lot of properties here and some of them do not know the stories behind our spices and its use, so we will be exposing them to our various products and sectors,” Mrs. McDonald-Riley informed.
She explained that the wholesale market will allow for agricultural produce from different sections of Jamaica to be properly stored at one location and distributed on time, to fill the demand of the tourism sector.
The linkages hub will be working with its partners to showcase local products, offerings and skills, and increase investment in the country, through the ‘Christmas in July’ and Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX).
‘Christmas in July’, which is slated for July 24 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, will see some 80 local producers of authentic Jamaican gift and souvenir items showcasing their products and networking with corporate entities and various industry players.
JAPEX is the premier trade event and the single most important business generator for Jamaica’s tourism industry. In two days of pre-scheduled appointments, wholesalers and tour operators meet face to face with close to 200 of Jamaica’s leading tourism suppliers to conduct business negotiations.
The event is scheduled for September 20 to 22 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Mrs. McDonald-Riley further informed that by the end of the year, “we want to work with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) to put on an expo called ‘Investment with Jamaicans’, in that, we will be showcasing the various business opportunities in Jamaica, how Jamaicans can invest here in Jamaica…it is saying to our Jamaican people, here are some things that you can look at…invest in these areas.”
The Tourism Linkages Hub is a collaborative effort led by the Ministry of Tourism, and includes partnership with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), JAMPRO, and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).