'Christmas in July' to feature new artisan village

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Tourism Linkages Network will be staging its ‘Christmas in July’ trade show on July 19 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The event is held annually to encourage the purchase of more locally made products by stakeholders in the hospitality sector and corporate Jamaica who are looking for suitable gifts for clients and staff.

Director of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley, says patrons at this year’s event will be treated to a new feature called an artisan village.

“This year, we are looking at putting in an artisan village. This is one of the innovative ideas coming out of the Ministry of Tourism. What you’ll be able to see is the product in the making. So, you will be able to actually watch people making a product from start to finish. These are the real manufacturers, and, yes, there’ll be some finished products from them,” she notes.
In addition to the new feature, the Linkages Network has expanded the list of buyers who will be at the event to order gifts.

“Previously, we mostly had corporate Jamaica or the diplomatic community and gift shop from the hotel industry. This time, we have expanded it to… persons in the pharmaceutical industry, because we are also having an increase in health and wellness products and nutraceuticals,” the director says.

Persons interested in participating in the ‘Christmas in July’ trade show have already submitted their applications, which will be assessed by a Committee on May 31.

“There’s a Committee in place that looks at the design, durability, material appropriateness, packaging, labelling, cost price, functionality, product relevance, design influence and also to ensure for the person’s benefit, copyright industrial design protection,” McDonald Riley informs.
The assessment session will be held at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) incubation centre, Marcus Garvey Drive.

“It’s not just about an assessment of products. We have presentation in terms of persons who speak to branding, persons who speak to marketing, and persons who speak to how you sell your products [and] how you close a deal,” she says.

“So, the assessment is not solely about a group of persons looking at your product for relevance, design and aesthetics. There’s also a programme in which we have presenters speaking to our audience, generally about know-hows that they will find useful,” McDonald Riley adds.

Meanwhile, the director says new products will be on display at this year’s event.

“Each year, we have more than half of the entrants bringing new products to the market. We are looking forward to having new products and new innovations, and we are also looking forward to the public to come out and support our manufacturers of these wonderful products,” she says.

She informs that for this year’s staging of Christmas in July, a lot more operators are expected to come out and view the gifting solutions available.

Corporate gifting in Jamaica is a multimillion-dollar business, which includes, but is not limited to, gifts at Christmas, gifts at conferences and tokens for promotional activities.

Currently, corporate gifts are either purchased directly from overseas or sourced from local businesses that import items and add value through limited printing (hot stamp or screen-printing) locally.

Christmas in July is an initiative of the Tourism Linkages Network of the Ministry of Tourism, JBDC, Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).

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