'Christmas in July'

BY KELLARAY MILES
Observer Business Writer

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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The ballroom of Jamaica Pegasus hotel came to life on Thursday last ( July 18) when over 120 artisans and small business operators exhibited their gift offerings and other items at the annual 'Christmas in July' exhibition put on by the Tourism Linkages Network.

The aim of the event was to have these small and upcoming entrepreneurs display their products to corporate Jamaica, the tourism industry, and others who sell gift supplies — in order for orders to be placed before Christmas.

“Today is a very exciting show,” proclaimed Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism.

“This exhibition is to highlight the cultural assets of Jamaica to application in various areas within the tourism industry. Manufacturing for us is the conversion of these cultural assets to material things, providing value aesthetics and driving economics,” he stated.

He then called on more ordinary Jamaicans to tap into the tourism value chain, as the items they create represent conversational pieces for visitors.

“This will help to keep Jamaica opinionated and create remnants that are long beyond the visit. This is also a means of bringing these visitors back to the country — when they finish using what they have, they want more, and will come back for it. The exhibition then is to show off the talent and quality of the outputs of Jamaican creativity,” he further stated.

“With the new thrust now on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such an initiative becomes very useful in driving the micro aspect of development.

“This initiative is useful as it builds our economy and adds to the retention of the dollar, the more visitors purchase local things is the more the economy of Jamaica will benefit,” he explained.

Carolyn McDonald- Riley, director of the Tourism Linkages Network, also expounded on some similar benefits of the products to be enjoyed from the exhibition.

“Every guest that leaves here needs to leave with a piece of Jamaica, so we look at what is unique for that guest and [what s/he ] would love to have to leave with,” she noted.

She further encouraged more persons to use Jamaican products, as this is another way to build our economy and retain foreign exchange.

She shared that the name “Christmas in July' was really conceptualised in order to give these small artisans the opportunity to boost sales for their businesses and to take pre-orders for the Christmas period. “The idea came about to have the showcase in July so that orders could be placed by then, ultimately giving the suppliers, small manufacturers and artisans — (who in previous times have complained) —enough time to have the products ready for Christmas gifting,” she said.


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