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Jamaica Preparing to Meet the Needs of 5 Million Tourists in 2025

KINGSTON, Jamaica – With Jamaica on track to attract 5 million visitors by 2025, local manufacturers are being urged by Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett to put themselves in a position to meet the increasing needs of the sector for products and services.

The call has been made even as players in the industry, such as Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), have grossed more than $1 billion since the Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) implemented its annual Speed Networking initiative. The TEF is a public body of the Ministry of Tourism.

Doctors Cave Beach - Montego Bay Jamaica - Jamaica Preparing to Meet the Needs of Tourism growth
Doctors Cave Beach – Montego Bay Jamaica – Photo Courtesy:

In a recent address at the 9th staging of the Speed Networking Event, delivered on his behalf by Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ms Jennifer Griffith, Minister Bartlett expressed that the event was being hosted “at a time when Jamaica is experiencing its best ever tourism performance in terms of arrivals, inclusive of cruise passengers, stopovers and US dollar earnings.”

He noted that Speed Networking had become one of the most anticipated calendar events created by the Tourism Linkages Network “in a continued bid to strengthen linkages and increase business between the tourism industry and local suppliers of goods and services from other sectors.”

This objective is being achieved through collaboration with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) and other partner entities, including the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

Participation has been consistent, with over 150 participants, representing tourism entities, suppliers and HR Managers, registered for this year’s event, staged recently at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Minister Bartlett said Speed Networking had been recording a high return rate, citing that last year, “94 per cent of hotels surveyed as tourism buyers said they were satisfied with the products presented to them,” while “80 per cent of tourism suppliers reported receiving business leads from their participation in the Speed Networking Event.”

Also pointing to “a significant increase in business” for the sector, Executive Director of the JHTA, Mrs Camille Needham recalled that: “When we started Speed Networking we knew we were onto something because it was, from the outset, established to bring the tourist industry together with the suppliers of goods, services and products.” She also shared that “over the years, the success of this event, and the reports we have received from those who have participated have really been heart-warming.”


  • Chief Executive Officer of HoneyVera, Ms Christal-Ann Thompson

In a testimonial, Chief Executive Officer of HoneyVera, Ms Christal-Ann Thompson said her participation in the Speed Networking Event over the years has helped to boost her business. She outlined that from just two products when the company started in 2013, it now manufactures over 50 products that are also marketed internationally.

  • Purchasing Manager at Deja Resort, Samuel Bowen

Buyers ranged from small hotels to large international chains, most of which are repeat participants. Purchasing Manager at Deja Resort, Samuel Bowen said the hotel has been participating from the inception and reaping many benefits. “We were able to make some very good connections in terms of suppliers, and currently we have one supplier who has been with us from the very beginning and it has benefitted us greatly,” he acknowledged.

  • Retail Manager for Secrets and Breathless Resorts, Damion Stewart

Meanwhile, Retail Manager for Secrets and Breathless Resorts, Damion Stewart who has been attending the event for the last three years, described the benefits as “amazing,” adding that: “This is one of the main ways that we use to meet local suppliers that are aspiring to be part of the gift shop and the hotels’ operations, so this is very important for us.”

He said the property was very big on sustainability and local suppliers were a big part of that and “every year we try to increase our local suppliers’ presence by at least ten percent.”

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