Speaking on November 22 at the second annual Business Development Information Session specifically for SMTEs, Bartlett unveiled a comprehensive three-pillar strategy aimed at fostering the sustained growth and success of these crucial entities.
“SMTEs undeniably play an indispensable role in the tourism industry. To fortify this sector, we recognize the imperative of addressing three essential elements: training to enhance capacity, funding for capital development, and marketing support,” stated Minister Bartlett. “These 3 pillars serve as the foundation for correcting the existing imbalance, enabling SMTEs to cultivate innovative ideas, expand their product offerings, secure funding to enhance both quantity and quality, and ultimately establish a market presence that allows them to command fair prices for their goods,” he added.
The Minister highlighted the first pillar of capacity enhancement through training, emphasizing the pivotal role of technology. One notable initiative in progress is the partnership between the Tourism Linkages Network and the University of the West Indies, focusing on equipping Jamaican SMTEs with essential digital skills to improve their businesses.
Addressing the second pillar, which pertains to critical funding and development support for SMTEs, Minister Bartlett shed light on the Spa Products Standardization Training, which aims to align small businesses engaged in spa product manufacturing with international and local standards mandated by hotels. Moreover, the Tourism Enhancement Fund, under the Ministry’s guidance, has implemented funding arrangements to provide substantial support for SMTEs.
“To date, over 2 billion dollars in loans have been disbursed through the EXIM Bank to operators of small and medium tourism enterprises,” said the Minister.
Regarding marketing opportunities, Minister Bartlett highlighted the significant benefits that SMTEs have experienced through their presence on the fully integrated website of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). Additionally, SMTEs have access to marketing opportunities through various annual Tourism Linkages Network events, including Christmas in July and Speed Networking. These events aim to fuel collaboration and partnership building among local producers, entrepreneurs, and the vibrant hospitality sector.
The Business Development Information Session hosted by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) at the Courtleigh Auditorium aimed to bring key development experts together to enhance SMTEs’ ability to supply the tourism and hospitality sectors with the requisite goods and services, thereby enabling them to absorb a greater share of the industry’s earnings.
Partnering entities included the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Scientific Research Council (SRC), Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank), Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), and Jamaica National (JN) Bank.
SEEN IN IMAGE: Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett (second right), shares a light-hearted moment with Kadian Collington, Taxpayer Education Officer from the Tax Administration Jamaica, during the second annual Business Development Information Session hosted by the Tourism Enhancement Fund. Joining the jovial occasion are Carolyn McDonald Riley, Director of the Tourism Linkages Network, and Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund. The session aimed to bring key development experts together to enhance SMTEs’ ability to supply the tourism and hospitality sector with requisite goods and services, thereby enabling them to absorb a greater share of the industry’s earnings.