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KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 28, 2020: Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett says Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), have a key role to play in reviving the economy, in the aftermath of the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking recently at the virtual staging of the Tourism Ministry’s signature Christmas in July tradeshow, he said: “The Tourism Linkages Network through initiatives such as Christmas in July is playing a crucial role in this recovery process by stimulating well needed economic activity through partnerships.”
He stressed that “everyone has a role to play in rebuilding the economy and Christmas in July provides an avenue for suppliers to begin to earn again and do their part in rejuvenating the economy.”
Minister Bartlett underscored that assisting local suppliers to meet the demands of the tourism sector through the development of stronger linkages with other sectors, remains a top priority of the Tourism Ministry.
He said: “We remain committed to ensuring that the country’s domestic sectors are better able to supply the products and services that are the necessary inputs of the visitor’s experience.”
The Minister explained that “this is even more critical under the new dispensation brought about by COVID-19, which has put a strain on every sector of the economy, with an added burden on the tourism sector because it is by far the most reliable means of getting the national economy up and running again.”
Christmas in July is an exhibition of locally produced corporate gifts and souvenir items that will enable local entrepreneurs to benefit more from the linkage opportunities available in the tourism industry.
Participants over the years have been chalking up millions of dollars in sales through contracts negotiated at the event. “The 50 highest earners of Christmas in July 2019, made a combined total of J$9.2 million by participating in the event,” Minister Bartlett revealed.
Items on display this year, from 146 entrepreneurs, included locally produced art, fashion and accessories, processed foods, aromatherapy, and souvenirs such as desktop solutions and décor items that are available for purchase. The event also featured a ‘Style Jamaica’ fashion show which showcased apparel by several top local fashion designers.
The tradeshow is organised by the Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, in partnership with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and the Bureau of Standards.
A gift catalogue of all participants and samples of their work will be made available at a later date.