Jamaica News: The annual staging of the ‘Christmas in July’ trade show has been opening avenues for networking and expanding business opportunities for local manufacturers.
This is according to Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who said the show, which is in its fourth year, has led to networking opportunities that have resulted in entrepreneurs signing contracts for the supply of their products.
“Christmas in July has now become a feature event that brings buyers and sellers together and tries to connect key partners who are so important in this big drive for connectedness and inclusiveness in the tourism sector,” he said.
The Minister was speaking via a video message, during the opening ceremony of the trade show at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (July 19).
He said the show, which is an exhibition of locally produced corporate gifts and souvenir items, will enable local entrepreneurs to benefit more from the linkage opportunities available in the tourism industry.
“We create these kinds of events… these moments of connectivity, and we are excited that each year we see more expressions of interest,” he said, noting that participation has increased by 20 per cent this year.
Welcoming the initiative, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, said the linkages concept, particularly connecting local manufacturers with hotels, is serving to build the capacity of small producers.
He further reiterated the Government’s commitment “to help small businesses realise success”.
In his remarks, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Dr. Carey Wallace, said the show is “Brand Jamaica at work”.
“The products represent the authenticity and quality of the skills of our talented Jamaican men and women who use their hands to express the richness of our local culture,” he said.
Also endorsing the initiative were Executive Director, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Camille Needham; President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), Metry Seaga; and Executive Director of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira.
Christmas in July provides an avenue for small and medium-sized enterprises to showcase their products as well as to network with prospective buyers. It seeks to boost the use and purchase of more Jamaican-made items as corporate gifts.
Corporate gifting in Jamaica is a multimillion-dollar business that includes, but is not limited to, gifts at Christmas, gifts at conferences and tokens for promotional activities. Currently, corporate gifts are either purchased directly from overseas or sourced from local businesses that import items then add value to the product.
This year’s staging involves 115 local producers, whose display of products includes traditional souvenirs of all kinds; corporate, home and decorative accessories; desktop solutions; specialty foods and aromatherapy/spa products.
It is organised by the Tourism Linkages Network of the Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), JMEA, JBDC and the JHTA.
The Linkages Network targets the development and strengthening of sustainable links between tourism and other productive sectors of the economy, to which it is closely connected, such as agriculture, manufacturing and entertainment.
The primary objective is to increase the consumption of goods and services that can be competitively sourced locally. It also aims to create employment while generating and retaining the country’s foreign exchange earning potential.
Source: JIS News