MONTEGO BAY, St James, Jamaica – In the aftermath of the third Tourism Linkages Speed Networking Event participants from various sectors including entertainment and construction are hailing the event as a major success. This as the participants emphasize that the event, which was held recently, has opened doors for well-needed business opportunities.
The event was 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 at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa, St. James.
The Tourism Linkages Hub puts producers of Jamaican goods and services in direct contact with operators in the tourism sector with the aim of getting more locally made products into hotels and other entities within the sector. While agriculture and manufacturing took the spotlight at the first Speed Networking event, this year providers of entertainment and construction goods and services, had the opportunity to meet with tourism decision-makers.
For Chief Executive Officer of Cleopatra’s Collections, Cleopatra Charles, “the linkage is excellent.” She has long wanted to supply the hotel sector with her fashion creations and now “we are meeting people who we never dreamed of meeting as it was hard to get to them at the different hotels.”
Renowned fashion designer Earl ‘Biggy’ Turner, well known in the entertainment industry for his popular Biggy Fashions, also attended for the first time and was satisfied that “I’ve met a lot of the hotel representatives and I received good, positive response; it’s for me now to go back and package what it is I’m expecting to sell them, which is fashion to complement the music.”
Benjamin Hodura, Vice President of Marketing at Isratech Jamaica Limited, which provides irrigation systems as well as water treatment and energy solutions, was also thankful for the exposure the event provided for his company. He said “the event was good and we made some good connections. We stayed the entire day and met with everyone and made the best of it.”
Simone Harris, Executive Director of 360 Artistes an arts management agency, was very pleased with the reception she received at the speed networking event which she was attending for the first time.
She says, “I think this is an absolutely great opportunity for the creative industries, for the price. I mean, if I was to try to meet with all these buyers here I couldn’t afford it, not in time and in money; this is a great opportunity to sit face to face with the people who make the decisions about entertainment in their properties.”
Ms. Harris holds the view that the facilitation provided by the Tourism Linkages Hub gives an opportunity to change the perception that local performers are not welcome by the hotel sector. “We spend a lot of time complaining but this is the opportunity to make a change; stop complaining, make a change,” she says.