Jamaica Urges Stronger Tourism Linkages to Boost Local Supply Capacity

image courtesy of Jamaica Tourism Ministry
Written by Linda Hohnholz

The Jamaica Ministry of Tourism and its public bodies will be ramping up efforts to boost the capacity of local suppliers in a bid to further strengthen linkages between tourism and other key sectors of the Jamaican economy. This commitment was underscored by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, during his recent 2024/2025 Sectoral Debate opening presentation in Parliament.

“Prime Minister Holness has charged this Government with investing more in the supply side of the industry,” Minister Bartlett stated. “We are meeting this challenge through our Tourism Linkages Network (TLN), a critical department within the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF),” he stated.

A key initiative highlighted by Minister Bartlett was the Agri-Linkages Exchange platform, also known as ALEX. He explained that “ALEX has facilitated greater connectivity between our tourism sector and small-scale farmers, generating approximately $1 billion in sales.” He continued: “These farmers, ranging from small landowners to backyard growers, are now supplying fresh produce directly to hotels and restaurants.”

ALEX is a joint effort between the TEF and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). Minister Bartlett also announced plans to expand this successful model, by providing water tanks and other resources to empower and boost the capacity of farmers across Jamaica.

Additionally, his presentation highlighted the recent opening of Jamaica’s first Artisan Village in Falmouth. “The development of the Artisan Village is a collaborative venture between the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund,” the Tourism Minister shared.

The Artisan Village features the work of a diverse range of artisans, offering visitors a unique and immersive glimpse into Jamaican culture and traditions. Minister Bartlett noted that the initiative aligns with the Ministry’s commitment to promoting local craftsmanship and providing tourists with an authentic Jamaican experience.

Recognizing the vital role of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs), Minister Bartlett also highlighted the importance of other initiatives like the annual Christmas in July trade show. “This event provides a platform for SMTEs to showcase their products to key stakeholders within the tourism industry,” he explained.

The most recent Christmas in July event, held in July 2023, featured some 180 exhibitors and the trade show has generated nearly $136 million in sales between 2015 and 2022. “This event, organised by the TLN in collaboration with key partners such as the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), exemplifies our unwavering commitment to nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship within the tourism sector,” Minister Bartlett concluded.

As preparations intensify for the 10th annual staging of Christmas in July this year, TEF recently hosted its Supplier Assessment Session at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. The 2024/2025 Sectoral Debate will continue in Gordon House on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Minister Bartlett will return to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, to deliver his Sectoral Debate closing presentation.

About the author

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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