Tourism Ministry’s Linkages Network launches Jamaica Suppliers Directory

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Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the Jamaica Suppliers Directory is an innovative online-based initiative that will not only bolster the Tourism Linkages Network’s efforts of increasing consumption of locally-produced goods but also decrease the high percentage of leakages in the tourism industry.

Speaking at the launch of the directory during a meeting of the Tourism Linkages Council at the Ministry of Tourism’s New Kingston offices, Minister Bartlett stated that “the online directory is a step in the right direction as it will tackle the leakages in the economy, which is perhaps one of the main reasons we established the Tourism Linkages Network.”

He highlighted that a 2014 report conducted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), showed that the Caribbean, though being the most tourism dependent region on earth, had the highest level of leakage of tourism expenditure.

“It is at 80 percent, that is 80 cents of every dollar being leaked; meaning it goes back to pay for the cost of tourism, the visitor and the inputs of the industry that are required. In the case of Jamaica, the report said that we were 70 per cent, with 30 cents of the dollar staying here and 70 cents leaving the country,” said Minister Bartlett.

“We, therefore, have to own the consumption side of tourism and build the capacity of our people to deliver on the experience and, by so doing, increase the level of retention of the tourism dollar in the economy. If successful, we will be able to create inclusive growth by the provision of jobs, which will lead to increased earning, consumption, tax revenues and the ability to better pay our debts,” he added.

Dr. Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), shared that his agency underscores the Linkages Network’s vision as it is critical to the capacity building of people to positively impact the economy. He was part of a high-level team representing Finance Minister Audley Shaw at the council meeting, including Michael Tharkur, Senior Technical Advisor, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service; Dr. Wesley Hughes, CEO, PetroCaribe Fund; and the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Gerard Johnson.

The Jamaica Suppliers Directory is a hyper-localized directory platform for product manufacturers and suppliers, which allows purchasing managers to have the capacity to search and locate manufactures of their choice based on their individual needs.

Designer of the platform, Lloyd Laing, shared that the interface is simple to use and is responsive among all devices, including phones, tablets, laptops and computers. It also allows registered users the ability to update details and information on their offerings, respond to queries and measure their ratings and additional information on their products.

“We took over 800 product suppliers from a number of member agencies associated with the Tourism Linkages Network and we have them visualized in different pinpoints on a map which is categorized in three locations – Central, Eastern, and Western Jamaica,” said Mr. Laing.

“There are two big points that came out of this particular product. We found out that almost 78 per cent of our suppliers and/or manufacturers did not have a web presence. Now, every single one has a web presence through the Tourism Linkages Network. Also, we have realized that our next step is to pass on the information we have gained to member agencies such as the JMA and JBDC. So, there is a lot of benefit for the big data which can produce some really good results in the long run,” the designer added.

The hybrid platform was in testing mode for a couple of months but can now be accessed at http://tourismlinkages.net/ via any Internet-enabled Android, IOS, Windows OS, and Linux device.

PHOTO: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left) addresses members of the Tourism Linkages Council at the launch of the Jamaica Suppliers Directory. Sharing in the moment, at the New Kingston offices of the Ministry of Tourism on May 18, 2017, is Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council Adam Stewart.