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Experience Jamaica, One Shop at a Time

How the Tourism Linkages Council’s Shopping Network is working hard to improve shopping experiences across the island.

by Anup Chandiram

As President of the Duty Free Association of Jamaica I am pleased to say that Jamaica has some of the best duty free shopping in the Caribbean. We excel in branded watches, jewellery, sunglasses and perfumes. Our duty free structure gives us a 10%-20% saving over North American pricing which when combined with the fact that we don’t have a sales tax, is even more substantial. However, because we haven’t updated the list of items we are allowed to sell for many years, we
are currently limited to these
few categories. 

 

That said, I am really excited about what the future has in store for us. Our Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, is a seasoned veteran who understands his portfolio very well. He knows that Jamaica is unique and that our customers, especially millennials and Generation Z visitors, are all about having one of a kind experiences. He has put Jamaica at the forefront of global and forward-thinking policies with the reconstitution of the Tourism Linkages Council. Chaired by Sandals CEO, Adam Stewart, the Council aims to develop and blend our country’s special offerings together to provide a tourism product that is authentically and uniquely Jamaican.  One of the pillars of the Tourism Linkages Council is the Shopping Network. Our goal is to make Jamaica the number one shopping destination in the Caribbean. We have worked tirelessly with our policymakers to come up with new, modern policies and legislation that reflect the current realities of the marketplace. We have recognized the incredible power of the internet and the decline in traditional brick and mortar retail. We also understand that on vacation, in leisure mode, visitors have a higher propensity to spend. As Jamaicans, we must become more innovative in our product offering and once we capture the visitor’s imagination, we can market to them even when they are back home using new digital and social media tools.

 

Combined with our resorts, food establishments, live entertainment and attractions, Jamaica can offer more authenticity and variety than any other Caribbean destination. Success will mean more demand for rooms, higher rates year round and ultimately more earning, greater employment and wealth creation for our citizens.

 

Jamaica is at a “tipping point” with growth being the new paradigm and tourism the key component. I believe the “linkages” model will contribute greatly to achieving our national goals and help propel our country into a prosperous future. Living in an ever shrinking world, we need to stand out to gain market share. We are uniquely positioned and will rise together if everyone pulls in the same direction. All aboard!

Anup Chandiram is the CEO of his 3rd generation family business, Bijoux, representing some of the world’s famous brand names in watches and jewellery. These include Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Hublot, Tag Heuer, Mikimoto, John Hardy and Pandora.

He is the President of the Duty Free Association of Jamaica and the Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Network on Shopping.

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