First Look

Minister McNeill tours Ocho Rios and checks readiness to host JAPEX 2012

Ministry of Tourism | 2012-09-07 00:00:00

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill is optimistic that the resort town of Ocho Rios will be ready to host the premier trade event, the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) 2012, which runs from September 30 to October 2.

 The Minister, who toured Ocho Rios yesterday, (September 6),to ascertain its state of readiness for the trade show, said he is confident that all preparations will be completed in time and that Jamaica will be able to welcome participants from across the globe to the world class event. He said “I have seen the work that has been undertaken in the various areas and I have also spoken to persons on the ground and believe that all will be in a state of readiness come September 30.”

 Minister McNeill was accompanied by State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Damion Crawford, members of the Resort Board and JAPEX planning committee, as well as representatives from the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and other government officials. The group visited several sections of the town, viewing in particular Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa – the venue for JAPEX, works being done on Development Road, the craft market on Main Street, as well as the Port Road, and the One Love Trail.

 While viewing these sites Dr. McNeill pointed out that although his immediate focus is to ensure that all goes well for JAPEX, he also wanted to see what would be needed to enhance the resort town. “Ocho Rios has a lot to offer in terms of visitor attractions and sheer appeal. However there have been some areas in recent years where this appeal has been waning, and so we are moving to get this back to an acceptable level for residents and visitors alike.”

 The improvement work will include drain cleaning, bushing, and the painting of curb walls, buildings and railings. Numerous signs will also be erected, while several light poles and walls will be repaired and painted. In expressing pleasure at the work being done Chairman of the Ocho Rios Resort Board, Dr Roosevelt Crooks, said “the areas selected for attention were the ones that were determined to be the most important, and which will have the greatest impact as we aim to improve the look of the town.”

 JAPEX is the single most important business generator for Jamaica’s tourism product. The three day event is a collaborative effort between the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA). During pre-scheduled appointments, wholesalers and tour operators from around the world will meet face to face with close to 150 of Jamaica’s leading tourism suppliers to conduct business negotiations.

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