KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment’s Tourism Linkages Hub has issued an open call for local businesses to register to participate in the third staging of the ‘Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Event.’
The event is set to take place on March 17, 2016 at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel & Spa in Montego Bay. It is being hosted by the Tourism Linkages Hub in partnership with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and other entities.
The first Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Event saw nearly 200 supplier and buyer companies meeting directly to discuss business opportunities and to also negotiate contracts. This massive support given by local businesses has been lauded by the Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill as being “a gratifying demonstration of real commitment to the concept of backward and forward linkages.”
“We have recognized for a long time that it’s not enough to bring visitors here, what we want is that when they come they consume products that are produced in Jamaica so those earnings can benefit more Jamaicans and by extension the local economy, “said Dr. McNeill.
Project Manager of the Tourism Linkages Hub Mrs. Carolyn McDonald-Riley is confident that this staging will be the best one to date. She explained that the decision to host another speed networking event was made for two primary reasons —the success of the previous events and to satisfy the need for continuous dialogue between industry players and local suppliers.
“The format will be the same. Industry players will be seated while our suppliers will move around to speak to them quickly based on the appointments they have made. However, this year we will have additional players and we are trying to get Negril more integrated into the process,” she said.
The speed networking event is currently open to businesses who offer a wide range of goods and services. Participants in the past included suppliers of: craft, toiletries and guest amenities, chemicals and cleaning products, cosmetic and spa products, furniture, bedding, food and beverage, uniforms, printing and packaging, training, ICT goods and services, electrical services, meat and fresh produce.
This year, the Tourism Linkages Hub hopes to diversify the businesses participating, by having more service-oriented organisations present.
“Specifically, we want to include entertainment and construction services in a more strategic way. We have invited proprietors who have not yet started building their properties as well as existing hoteliers who will be expanding and/or refurbishing in the near future. Also, entertainment practitioners have requested an opportunity to speak to industry players directly, so this will be ideal for them,” said McDonald-Riley.