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Story Highlights

  • The recently established Tourism Linkages Hub initiative has forged crucial business relations between manufacturers, and operators of facilities, as well as service providers in the hospitality industry.
  • The initiative has also ensured steady markets for local farmers, bringing together producers in the agricultural sector, manufacturers, and entertainers.
  • Another area of progress was the inclusion of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), in the Caribbean Travel Marketplace show, which was held in January.

The recently established Tourism Linkages Hub initiative has forged crucial business relations between manufacturers, and operators of facilities, as well as service providers in the hospitality industry.

The initiative has also ensured steady markets for local farmers, bringing together producers in the agricultural sector, manufacturers, and entertainers.

Several agro-tourism farmers markets have been staged in the resorts communities of Negril and Montego Bay, with collaborative support from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), among other stakeholders.

“Buyer-seller meetings, expos, and other events are among the strategies used by the Linkages Hub to stimulate the distribution of manufactured goods and agricultural produce,” informed Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr.  Wykeham McNeill, as he outlined these developments in his 2014/15 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 27.

Dr. McNeill added that while the initiative is still in its development stages, he is pleased that there have been several positive outcomes, including contract arrangements between farmers and hotels, to supply produce on a weekly basis.

The Minister informed the House that another area of progress was the inclusion of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), in the Caribbean Travel Marketplace show, which was held in January.

“This provided them with the opportunity to network with local and regional players in the hospitality industry resulting in several benefits to the local manufacturers,” he said.

Through the work of the Hub, local suppliers have secured contracts to provide furnishing for a number of properties. The group is currently engaging hotel purchasing managers to identify specific needs, and to create direct buyer/supplier linkages in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and the JMA.

Meanwhile, in order to provide stakeholders with accurate market information, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), has provided funding for an $8.7 million project, to carry out a study on the potential demand for local goods and services in the tourism sector.

Buyers and suppliers will have access to the findings of the study, via the Ministry’s website.

The Tourism Minister expressed gratitude to all participants in the process, which he said has “produced a bonding between sectors in pursuit of the mutual benefit of greater and improved linkages between these vital sectors of our economy”.

Dr. McNeill pointed to the volume of investment dollars currently being spent by new operators who are undertaking modernisation projects, noting that new areas are being expanded, such as attractions, transportation and other sub-sectors.

“As a result, we have developed world class attractions and modern transportation to the service industry,” he said.