Jamaica Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, have joined forces in calling on Jamaicans and other persons seeking gift items, to use the yuletide season to shop locally and support and buy Jamaican designers, artisans and other local producers of goods and services.
Their appeal was made at the third annual staging of the Tourism Linkages Network’s Style Jamaica event, a fashion show featuring 14 Jamaican designers whose creations, the ministers agreed, could stand out against any of their international counterparts. This year’s event was also paired with the Tourism Enhancement Fund’s (TEF) new e-Chrismus Marketplace initiative, which is an online shopping marketplace showcasing a range of products from Jamaican designers and artisans.
The two-day event runs from December 16 to 17 and is being staged virtually at the newly opened Main Street Jamaica shopping facility (Formerly The Shoppes at Rose Hall), in Montego Bay, St. James. The location’s linkages concept promotes the best of Jamaica to international travellers with shopping as a major part of their visitor experience. The Style Jamaica event also presented Jamaican participants with an international marketing avenue through an online shopping platform.
“The online marketing of products and services is now the norm and our Jamaican consumers are beginning to appreciate that this comes with other benefits that in themselves add value in terms of cost-savings and even time-savings, in getting goods from the producer to the consumer,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister then urged everyone to buy Jamaican this Christmas. He stressed that: “Especially at this time though, I want to invite our Jamaicans to show confidence in ourselves and give meaning to ‘Buy Jamaican’. We are approaching the season of giving to friends and loved ones, a loving act that COVID-19 and social distancing cannot stop, and I really want to appeal to everyone to shop Jamaican this ‘Chrismus’.”
“That special item you may desire is literally at your fingertips. Just visit the shoppinginja.com/echrismus platform and there you will find an amazing array of gift items that are available from local suppliers who are eager for you to contact them,” he added.
While endorsing the call for persons to support local producers when shopping this Christmas, Minister Grange said “shopping is a major area for tourism and Destination Jamaica is one of the great brands.”
She also saw the Main Street Jamaica concept as capturing the essence of what Jamaica is all about, adding that: “What it has done is to present what Jamaica is about; its culture, its music, its food and the great talent our artisans have and has brought all of this together with brands of the world and to show that we can stand up and be a part of what the world is all about.”
Minister Bartlett noted that it was with the knowledge that shopping was one of the most important activities for tourists, and also an important factor in the choice of destination for many, that shopping was identified as one of the must-haves in the Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the TEF, which now helps to drive efforts to diversify Jamaica’s product offering.
He said the objectives of Style Jamaica were in keeping with the broader objectives of the tourism sector as it sought to promote Jamaica as a premium shopping destination; promote and highlight local designers to the tourism market, and to diversify the on-island shopping experience. This year’s staging therefore leveraged the growing online market trend even as it sought to develop authentic and unique shopping experiences that add value to the Jamaican tourism product.