THE Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), through its Tourism Linkages Network division, will host its first Business Development Information Session for small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs) on June 8 at Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
“The actual drivers of tourism are small and medium businesses; they are responsible for 80 per cent of all tourism experiences throughout the world. As a result, we are concentrating our efforts on providing the assistance they require, as well as developing the links between tourism and other sectors of the economy in order to boost tourism’s economic impact,” said Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
“The anomaly here is that just 20 per cent of tourism revenues go to that group, so part of what we’re trying to do in Jamaica is help to correct that imbalance by giving these institutions the tools they need. But, more significantly, we want to make sure that everything is understood in the context of the larger goal, vision, and mission of prosperity,” added the minister.
The session will bring together key business development experts who are expected to highlight the products and services available to SMTEs to help them grow — including competitive business loans, government financing facilities, vouchers to help SMTEs with technical needs, effective business marketing, and business development grants. This is expected to ultimately improve their ability to supply the tourism sector.
The session will also concentrate on product-testing services (to guarantee that products satisfy market standards), product standardisation services (to ensure products are consistent), product development opportunities, and credit enhancement facilities.
“By functioning as essential drivers of growth and economic advancement, SMTEs are critical to the inclusivity of Jamaica’s tourism sector. Despite their economic importance, these organisations encounter a slew of obstacles to their expansion and development,” said TEF Executive Director Dr Carey Wallace.
“As a result, we are delighted to host this crucial event which will assist our businesses in growing and providing them with knowledge to help them make better business decisions and learn more about all of the tools available to them,” he added.
The Business Development Information Session is being organised in collaboration with business development entities such as the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and product development agencies such as the Scientific Research Council (SRC). It will also feature booths and presentations from the EXIM Bank, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), and the Jamaica National Small Business Loans.
The decision to offer the seminar was taken after reviewing the results of a survey performed by the Tourism Linkages Network in 2021 to analyse the difficulties and needs of SMTEs who attended its annual ‘Christmas in July’ trade show.
When asked what business owners most needed to help them expand, 95 per cent said they wanted to learn more about business financing options available through TEF or other business financing agencies. Additionally, 95.2 per cent of respondents said they had never engaged with the Scientific Research Council when producing their products.
Interested parties are asked to register by May 27 at https://linktr.ee/tefjamaica or by contacting TEF at (876) 926-8684.