Fri | Jul 20, 2018

Letter of the day: Shift expo to Montego Bay

Published:Monday | April 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Congratulations to the JMA and JEA for staging another successful expo. However, I think the time is ripe to start the discussion on moving the expo to the Conference Centre in Montego Bay. In my view the Nation Arena, in its current state, is no longer suitable.

The bathroom facilities are inadequate. So too is the lighting. The general aesthetics of the building is poor. I am aware of one buyer who stated publicly that they will not come back to another expo if it held at the same venue. I recall, one year a roof tile falling to the floor. Luckily, no one was struck by it.

I think Montego Bay would be the ideal location. The Conference Centre is an excellent venue that is grossly underutilised. Not only would we be able to showcase our products but our destination as well.

Easier sell

Sangster International Airport is the leading gateway to Jamaica, so more flights are accessible to fly in. More hotel rooms are available in Montego Bay and its environs. Transportation from Kingston is now relatively fast and easy with the opening up of the new North-South Highway. Buses could be chartered to carry patrons to and from Kingston on a daily basis.

Buyers are more likely to come to an expo if the destination is appealing. Montego Bay offers this and so much more. It is an easier sell. The buyers attending the expo in Kingston are virtually confined to visiting the show and going back to the hotel to repeat the same process the following day. With the multiplicity of attractions on the north coast, the buyers may well take their families along while they engage in business. This would redound to the benefit of our tourism industry.

We also need to look at targeting buyers from the large chain stores, not only the distributors. I recall being invited to an expo in Central America where one could meet with Walmart and other big store representatives. This would be a direct route into the stores, making it cheaper for the consumers.

The world is changing, and we need to change along with it. Good is only good enough until you find something better. Let us at least give this a look. Again, Kingston is not Jamaica.

Andrew Gray

Gray's Pepper