Local supplier was used for UNWTO conference, tourism ministry tells JMEA

Sunday, February 03, 2019

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Ministry of Tourism has sought to clarify concerns surrounding the just concluded 'UNWTO and Government of Jamaica 2nd Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises'.

The ministry's statement follows comments from the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), which yesterday hit out against what it described as government's use of local funds and scare foreign exchange to support overseas jobs.

The manufacturers and exporters said that Government's insistence on using imported memorabilia to promote brand Jamaica at events is undermining local businesses, using as example the UNWTO conference.

However, in its defence, the tourism ministry's organising committee said the memorabilia were sourced through a local company and the process did not involve the UNWTO.

See ministry's statement in full:

The Ministry of Tourism's organising committee, of the just concluded 'UNWTO and Government of Jamaica 2nd Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises', would like to state the following to provide context and clarity on recent comments regarding some aspects of the event:

1) Conference bags and items within the bags were sourced and procured through a local manufacturing company which has been in operation for 40 years and is CARICOM export certified.

2) The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was not a part of the procurement of these conference bags and their items.

The Ministry of Tourism has consistently supported small and medium tourism suppliers through various initiatives to help them secure more business and will continue to do so. Incidentally, as is customary in businesses here and overseas, imported items form a significant portion.

The ministry also established five Tourism Linkages Networks — Gastronomy, Sports and Entertainment, Health and Wellness, Shopping and Knowledge — to drive programmes and projects that create more economic opportunities for small providers of goods and services within tourism. All these networks are led and supported by leading members of Jamaica's business community.

Additionally, micro and small Jamaican owned businesses continue to successfully access financing from a $1 billion-dollar revolving loan from Tourism Enhancement Fund via the EXIM Bank, conceptualised and instituted by the Ministry to strengthen and encourage local businesses.

The Government of Jamaica recently partnered with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to host the Second Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), at the Montego Bay Convention on January 29, 2019.

This signature event, which featured several notable figures in the area of SMTEs such as Former President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Velez, is a direct response to the global conference on jobs and inclusive growth hosted in Jamaica in 2017. The SMTE Conference looked at many of the perennial challenges faced by SMTEs, including issues of access to credit, marketing, technology and business development. The conference focused solely on SMTEs and best practices that have direct relevance to their development.

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