With the first business day of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX), on April 29, still in full swing, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham, McNeill is expressing pleasure at the large number of deals being conducted.
He said the negotiations, being carried out on the floor of the Montego Bay Convention Centre, bodes well for the future of the industry.
“This is turning out to be a good JAPEX; we are very positive about it. The President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) has said that the business appointments are up significantly, which is really a positive, because it means people are here looking for business,” he stated.
“It is a strong indication, and from what we are hearing from our partners, there is a real positive, and we are looking for a strong summer, and we are looking for a good winter next year,” Dr. McNeill added.
The Minister was speaking to reporters following a tour of booths at the convention centre in St. James, where the three-day event is being held. He was accompanied by JHTA President, Evelyn Smith.
Dr. McNeill said he is particularly pleased about the interest from the new markets in Eastern Europe and Latin America, noting that “those are two areas that we are interested in”.
He noted that JAPEX, which is Jamaica’s premier travel trade show, is a lead up to the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which will be hosted by Jamaica next January.
That event, the Minister stated, is a much bigger show, and will showcase the many offerings that are in Jamaica, from manufacturing to the service industry.
“When we host the Caribbean Marketplace next year, what you will have is the entire product, all the hotels, the attractions for the entire Caribbean, coming here to Jamaica, as well as buyers from a wide cross section. It gives Jamaica an opportunity to tap into those buyers,” he outlined.
“It is not just about bringing visitors to the country, it is about how those visitors are going to impact the economy of Jamaica,” he stated.
Dr. McNeill noted further that at Caribbean Marketplace, “we also intend to put in a big way, our product on show. We are working with the JHTA, we are working with the Jamaica Manufacturers Association, and with other organisations to ensure that we showcase all of the products.”
“Jamaica has a lot to offer, and brand Jamaica is strong, not only in the tourism sector, but in terms of food, drink, services, and manufacturing. So, we are going to put that on show in the Caribbean Marketplace,” the Minister stated.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter