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Kingston, Jamaica: December 12, 2012 – Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill has announced that a Hub is to be formed within his Ministry to drive the process of establishing linkages between the tourism and other industries forward. Explaining further he said, “this Hub would be what would gather data and disseminate information, and would work with input and representation from the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) and JAMPRO”.
The Minister was speaking at a tourism linkages meeting with senior players within the tourism and manufacturing sectors. Held at the Terra Nova Hotel yesterday, December 11, 2012, the meeting was hosted by the Minister, and is a part of his Ministry’s continuing efforts to create linkages between the tourism industry and certain key industries within the island, prime among them the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The minister was keen to emphasize that bringing in visitors to Jamaica is not tourism’s only objective, but importantly, “we must earn more and retain more of what is earned within the Jamaican economy. It is therefore imperative that we get more value and increase the linkages between sectors. ”
Major players, representing a wide cross section of the various elements of the two sectors, turned out in their numbers to participate. President of the JHTA, Evelyn Smith who gave a broad overview of the expectations of her industry players said, “our members want to be accessed by all those who have products and services to offer us so it is important that avenues be found to increase communication between our sectors and to offer more access points to interact.” She urged the consideration of, among other things, an e-commerce platform which would allow for easier access to finding local suppliers.
With respect to moving forward, Chairman of the Tourism Economic Linkages Committee, Don Wehby told the group that he expected that within a few weeks a consensus should be reached on some of the issues discussed and the courses of action required, stressing, “I believe that this process can work to the benefit of us all.” Minister McNeill in wrapping up the meeting, said the meeting had achieved more than what was expected and “I am really happy that that the relationship between the sectors have taken on a whole other tone.”
Tourism linkages meetings have also taken place between the tourism and agriculture sectors.