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Tourism body wants more Latin Americans at JAPEX

Published:Monday | April 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook says increased efforts are being made to bring a strong contingent of tour operators from Latin American countries to the upcoming staging of the Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX).

Pennicook was addressing last week's launch of JAPEX at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

He said that the move was in keeping with the thrust of the Jamaica Tourist Board to focus on growth from Latin America and the Caribbean, even as the traditional markets are strengthened.

"Jamaica has one of the best tourism products in the region, with excellent accessibility," said Pennicook.

"JAPEX will give us the opportunity to demonstrate that fact to established and new tour operators so they are able to help us achieve that growth."




Pennicook highlighted the need to showcase Jamaica to the world and stated that JAPEX continues to give the players in the tourism industry a platform through which they can market their products and services.

Reiterating the Pennicook's point, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) President Nicola Madden-Greig said, "JAPEX presents a unique opportunity for participants each year to network and market to parts of the world that would have otherwise been impossible.

"While we have a great product, a lot more is required to really see the dollar-value returns that we know Jamaica can achieve."

Madden-Greig said that, in 2015, the Latin American market accounted for only 1.7 per cent of the market share in conjunction with Asia, so it has great potential for expansion.

Additionally, the Caribbean market brought in just over 219,096 stopover arrivals or three per cent market share, and the JHTA sees tremendous potential in increasing these numbers and will continue to market Jamaica as a premier vacation, lifestyle, sport, and experience destination.

"There is so much more to Jamaica than resorts. JAPEX is giving buyers and sellers from all over the world a chance to see this, with the ultimate objective being to translate that interest into increased arrivals. We continue to work with the JTB efforts to target more new buyers from the LatAm region, as well as the Caribbean, which is also a focus market of the JHTA, as we anticipate to see increased arrivals in the coming months," said Madden-Greig.

JAPEX will be held from April 29 to May 1 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.