First Look

Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Event a major success

Ministry of Tourism | 2015-01-22 00:00:00

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has lauded the first ever Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Event, as a landmark venture. The event, which has been hailed as a major success, saw representatives of nearly 200 supplier and buyer companies meeting to discuss business opportunities and negotiate contracts.

Delivering the keynote address for the opening of the event at the Half Moon Conference Centre yesterday (January 21), Minister McNeill said "the large turnout was a gratifying demonstration of real commitment to the concept of backward and forward linkages, which we all realize can make a great contribution to the development of a truly sustainable tourism sector.”

He saw the event, as a vehicle for local suppliers of goods and services to open the eyes of purchasers and the public in general, to the wide variety of services and fine quality products that are available in Jamaica.

Businesses offering a wide range of goods and services participated in the networking event, including suppliers of craft, toiletries and guest amenities, chemicals and cleaning products, cosmetic and spa products, furniture, bedding, food and beverage, uniforms, printing and packaging, construction, training, ICT, electrical, meat and fresh produce.

The organization of the Speed Networking Event was spearheaded by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) and other key partners.

“We have recognized for a long time that  it’s not enough to bring visitors here, what we want is when they come they consume products that are produced in Jamaica so those earnings can benefit more Jamaicans and by extension the local economy,” said Dr. McNeill.

The Minister also expressed the view that the collaboration and team work fostered by this partnership between the public and private sectors, through the Ministry's Tourism Linkages Council, was a model which could be replicated throughout the society.

He congratulated those who worked very hard on the event, singling out the JHTA and its President, Nicola Madden-Greig, “for not only coming up with this truly creative idea but for following through with energy, enthusiasm and efficiency.”

Mrs. Madden-Greig said the day marked “a historic and significant milestone for Jamaica as we continue to forge new partnerships and linkages towards strengthening and showcasing Brand Jamaica.” 

She said the JHTA recognized that “for us to continue to not only do well but to truly thrive, having a positive view to change and innovate is critical to us maintaining a competitive advantage and this must be reflected in the local products and services that are available to us in order to exceed the expectations of our clientele.”

According to Mrs. Madden-Greig, the venture was more than a sales event, “but also a marketing research platform where local companies seek to understand the changing needs of international products and how they can produce authentic Jamaican products and services to satisfy the increasingly discerning technology driven and savvy traveler.” 

Terming it a red letter day, JMA President, Brian Pengelley expressed appreciation to Minister McNeill and Mrs. Madden-Greig for their lead role in ensuring the event was a success. He also had high commendation for the Tourism Linkages Hub, which is housed in the Ministry, the manufacturers and the JHTA team for their exemplary work.

The other entities which partnered to host the event are Sandals Resort International, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). 


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