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All set for a busy EXPO 2014 at National Arena

BY KARYL WALKER walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, March 25, 2014    

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JAMAICA’S biggest trade show of locally produced goods is expected to be the biggest and best when it opens at the National Arena in Kingston next month, organisers say.

Addressing yesterday’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, EXPO Jamaica 2014 Committee Co-Chair Aswad Morgan said there will be significant improvements to the event this year.

“Every year we have been focused on trying to improve on the quality of the actual show from an operational standpoint, from a whole look and feel,from the number of buyers that we have tried to attract to the show, consumer experience, in every aspect,” Morgan said.

Booths for the trade show, to be held April 3 to 6, have already been sold out and a total of 448 buyers have so far been registered by the EXPO 2014 Committee. Of that number, 193 are Jamaican. The overseas buyers hail from as far as the Czech Republic, and include Venezuela, the United States, Canada, Britain, and the Caribbean.

 Dubbed by the organisers as ‘The Business Hub of the Caribbean’, the trade show will also feature a farmers’ market where 150,000 pounds of fresh produce is expected to be available.

There will be an ‘Experience Jamaica’ forum which will be held in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board, a food court and live entertainment on offer.

President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association Brian Pengelley was upbeat about the mood and apparent confidence among business interests who have registered to display their products at this year’s EXPO.

“The energy behind this show this year really surprises me; because we hear about doom and gloom, but that’s not what we are seeing.

We are seeing some optimism out there. We are seeing some companies saying, ‘you know what, I am going to spend the money, I am going to come and represent my company in a good way’,” he told Observer reporters and editors.

The EXPO Jamaica 2014 Committee has embarked on a high-energy advertising campaign which includes banners at the Norman Manley and Sangster international airports, advertisements at all 13 cinemas in the island and a social media blitz.

The main aim of the EXPO is to ramp up the ‘Buy Jamaican’ campaign by displaying goods and services that are of an international standard.

“There is a job to do to get our local buyers to know that a lot of products they buy overseas can be accessed locally,” Berletta Forrester, who is in charge of the Expo Jamaica 2014 Buyer Recruitment Programme, said.

The first two days of the EXPO will be open to registered buyers only and the gates will be open to the public at the end of the second day of business.

Morgan, meanwhile, invited hoteliers to attend EXPO 2014 as there are expected to opportunities for increased business.

He also called on owners of pharmacies and other businesses to seize the opportunities that will be available at the trade show.

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