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Minister Bartlett: J$16 million in contracts earned from 2018 staging of Christmas in July

Tourism Minister Hon, Edmund Bartlett says that his Ministry’s Christmas in July tradeshow has been a resounding success for local manufacturers, noting that last year at least 30 participants collectively received contracts valued at over J$16 million.

Last year the event, which is hosted by the Tourism Linkages Network and partners, attracted 118 suppliers and 550 buyers. A participants’ perception survey indicated that 50% of respondents received contracts worth $100,000 or less, 43% received contracts of over $100,000 to $500,000 while 7% received contracts worth over $1 million.

Minister Bartlett however stated that the Christmas in July exhibitors, while reaping the benefits of the exposure and contracts from the event, were unwilling to share information on the contracts they received, which limited the Ministry’s ability gauge the true success of this linkages initiative.

Speaking at Christmas in July, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel last week, Minister Bartlett lamented, “It is a pity that we did not receive information from all participants. I hope that this year exhibitors will be more willing to share information on their successes, so we too can see the return on our investment.”

Richard Pandohie, President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), also stressed the importance of data sharing during his address at the event.

“Companies, business support organizations and governments across the world can analyze a variety of information which can provide new insights to make better and faster decisions and decide where to allocate scarce resources, but we can’t have data analytics if less than three per cent of the data is coming in,” he noted.

Christmas in July is an annual tradeshow, which gives local producers of authentic Jamaican gift and souvenir items the opportunity to display their products and network with corporate entities and various industry players.

It is hosted in partnership with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), and seeks to provide Jamaican producers of corporate gifts and souvenirs with the opportunity to access an alternative market segment while adding uniqueness and creativity to product offerings.

“Our linkages initiatives are challenging the private sector to do business differently, they are increasing the consumption of local goods, they are creating employment, and they are generating and facilitating the infusion of tourism spending into the local economy.

I am positive that this year’s staging will be equally fruitful for all participants, if not better. We have pumped some $10 million into this event,” said Minister Bartlett.

This year, some 120 local producers of authentic Jamaican gift and souvenir items displayed their products to corporate entities and various industry players at the event’s fifth staging.

Activities for this year’s staging included a “Style Jamaica Pop Up Fashion Show” – which featured jewelry, bags and accessories made by local artisans.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith (left), tests her artistic skills, with guidance from renowned artist Lennox Coke at the fifth Staging of Christmas in July at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on July 18, 2019.

It is also included a mini Artisan Village, where patrons were able to see products being made from start to finish. This is a preview of the Tourism Enhancement Fund-led artisan village that is being constructed at Hampden Wharf in Trelawny, slated to be ready by the end of the year, to coincide with the start of the traditional winter tourist season in December.

All products on display had to be made with materials sourced locally, proven to be at least 70 per cent locally manufactured or assembled highlighting strong Jamaican cultural influences and themes.

An online catalogue featuring all exhibitors will available in October 2019 for people to view products and place orders.

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