The Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX), an industry trade show hosted annually by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), in association with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), has concluded in Montego Bay, with all signals pointing to strong arrival numbers from across the globe. Jamaica says that they see big prospects in India market and are looking at opportunities to build traffic out of India.
Addressing the press launch of JAPEX 2023, the Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett emphasised that JAPEX 2023 is more than just a trade show, “it is a symbol of our recovery”. He stated, “this year’s event holds even more significance, as it follows a period of unparalleled challenges for the global travel tourism industry. The pandemic tested our collective resolve, but it also re-enforced our resilience”.
With a target in sight of earning US$4.1 billion, Minister of Tourism, Honourable Edmund Bartlett is quite pleased that Jamaica is having its best year ever in visitors’ arrivals. His enthusiasm was shared as the tourism sector celebrated the return of JAPEX with an elaborate opening event at Chukka Outpost on the Sandy Bay coastline. “As we currently stand, we are about to have the best year in the history of tourism in Jamaica for stopover arrivals, 2023,” he exuded.
In 2019, Jamaica announced expansion in the island’s hotel industry with 10,000 new rooms in the upcoming years. However, the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt in the tourism business worldwide. During the recession, investors were still interested in Jamaica and new investment options were being introduced. Post- pandemic, the tourism industry is rebuilding itself; Jamaica is back on its track to expand their hotel industry, now with 15,000 new rooms over the next 3 to 5 years.
During the Destination Update, led by Director of Tourism of Jamaica, Donovan White, there was a special emphasis on the importance of the Indian market to Jamaica as Indian travel trade and media physically participated for the first time in this event this year. White also introduced TRAC Representations as Jamaica Tourist Board’s representative in the Indian market. White told tourism stakeholders that he was encouraged by the work being done by TRAC as their Indian representative agency run by Mr. Rajeev Nangia, COO, TRAC Representations (I) Pvt. Ltd. “They’ve (TRAC) served us exceedingly well and now we are looking to increase our activities with TRAC Representations in India and beyond,’’ White said.
White also mentioned that the popular Jamaican Cricketer Chris Gayle has a huge fan following in India. Gayle will be working with Jamaica to attract more Indian travellers to the island destination. “I am very well connected with the leadership of the tourism fraternity in India; our airlift is getting stronger and we intend to participate in the various trade events in India. We’re excited to tap into the Indian market”, stated White.
White also said, “We also want to look at the Indians residing in Canada, the United States, and the UK. So, our incursion into India is not going to be just any subcontinent of India, but also in the Indian diaspora”.
JAPEX 2023 marked the return to full face-to-face interaction for the first time since 2019. The trade fair was held in a virtual format in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, it was set to be held in November as a hybrid (in-person/virtual) event but joint hosts, the JHTA and Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), rescheduled it to early 2022.