MONTEGO BAY, Sept. 22 (JAmaica Information Service) – The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) is expressing optimism that Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) 2014 will result in “tremendous business” for local players in the industry.

President of the Association, Nicola Madden Grieg, in addressing the opening of the trade show at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on Sunday (September 21), said this year’s event has attracted 300 buyer delegates, who will be meeting with some 230 local suppliers.

“We have assembled 230 of the best in Jamaica’s hospitality and tourism industry, including hotels, airlines, attractions and allied members of the JHTA, to meet with over 300 delegates from the world’s major wholesale tour operators, travel agents and media from the United States (US), Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, Dominican Republic, Canada, Mexico and the UK (United Kingdom),” she informed.

In addition, over 80 local suppliers of goods and services, including manufacturers, are participating in JAPEX, through the Tourism Linkages Hub, which involves collaboration with entities such as Jamaica Promotions Corporation, (JAMPRO), Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), among others.

The initiative is in keeping with ongoing efforts to improve the linkages between tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors of the economy.

Mrs. Madden Grieg said that JAPEX has grown over the years, which she credited to the partnerships that have been forged among companies that have been supporting the tourism sector over the years.

She said a new feature to this year’s event, is an educational session focused on niche markets.

“One of our seminars …addressed disability awareness and service expectations. The JHTA intends to ensure that we are ready to welcome these travellers, who are seeking adventure…and one-of-a-kind experiences with new friends,” she pointed.

Noting that the sector is doing well, she cited growth in investments through brands such as Moon Palace, Hyatt, Royalton, Courtyard by Marriott and Charisma. “Hopefully they will keep coming,” she said.

The JHTA President also hailed the Government’s investment in highway development, which she said, has made it easier for visitors to access resort areas of the south coast, Port Antonio, Kingston and the Majestic Blue Mountains, to take advantage of the “diversity that Jamaica always has to offer.”

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