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SMTEs Urged to Provide Quality Products to Future-Proof Tourism

Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Tourism, David Dobson (left) and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (second right) look on in delight as Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Hon. Godfrey Dyer (second left) examines his gift which was created by Kerri-Ann Henry of SN Kraft Ltd., one of the suppliers at the Christmas in July trade show. The gift was presented to Mr. Dyer by Minister Bartlett. The Christmas in July trade show is currently being staged by the Tourism Linkages Network (TLN), a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and runs from July 12-13, 2022, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. – image courtesy of Jamaica Ministry of Tourism

Operators of SMTEs that supply the tourism sector are being encouraged to provide high quality products to ensure continued viability.

Operators of Small and Medium-sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) that supply the tourism sector are being encouraged to provide high quality products to ensure the resilience of the industry and their continued viability in the market.

While addressing close to two hundred local suppliers at the opening ceremony of the 8th staging of the Christmas in July trade show yesterday (July 12), Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett stressed that “building quality, consistency, volume, and good price points are central to the competitiveness of Jamaican products.”

He continued that “no one wants to come to Jamaica to get an item that is inferior in quality, overpriced for its value” and hard to find, adding that SMTEs, have a job to help Jamaica “to remove the original stigma of us being a destination of samples.”

The Tourism Minister said that this is critical to safeguarding or “future-proofing the small and medium tourism enterprises to be a continued driver of the tourism experience,” as well as “future-proofing the market.”

Mr. Bartlett noted that he understands that challenges, including inflation, lack of funding, and supply chain disruptions, may arise, but added that the Ministry is responding to them strategically.

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The Tourism Minister noted that the challenges are being addressed through “training, development, and financing,” underscoring that “we recognize that you must have capacity and you must have the financing.”

He also explained that while SMTE operators are working to remain viable in a competitive space, the Ministry of Tourism is also working to “future-proof this industry against the recession.”

Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Clifton Reader said that he too wants to see the success of the SMTEs in the sector.

Mr. Reader expressed that the JHTA is interested in helping such entities. He said, “we want to ensure that our doors are open” adding that “I am going to challenge every single member of my organisation to make sure this fledgling industry prospers.’

The JHTA president expressed that “it is very important that this partnership is not only words.” In the same breath he emphasised that while SMTEs will have the support of the association, the suppliers need to provide “quality at a good price”.

The Chairman of the Manufacturing Technical Working Group of the Tourism Linkages Network (TLN), John Mahfood also stated that the manufacturing sector consistently achieves between 8-9% of GDP annually and is the second largest contributor to the economy of all the goods producing sectors. Local manufacturers have pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic and there has been an increase of 76% in applications in 2022, when compared to 2019.

As Jamaica continues to experience a rapid recovery, manufacturers are encouraged to take full advantage of the existing marketplace.

The Christmas in July trade show is being staged by the TLN, a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and runs from July 12-13, 2022, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

The 2022 staging of the event features some 180 producers of locally made items, across several categories, including aromatherapy, décor, fashion and accessories, fine arts, souvenirs, processed foods, and products made with organic and natural fibres.

The annual initiative encourages the purchase of authentic local products by stakeholders in the tourism sector and corporate Jamaica looking for gifts for clients and staff. It is a collaborative effort of the Tourism Linkages Network and its partners: the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Manufacturers’ and ExportersAssociation (JMEA),Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the JHTA.

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About the author

Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.

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