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  • The resort town of Ocho Rios in St. Ann is to benefit from an additional $286 million of Government expenditure to undertake further infrastructural developments over the next six months.
  • Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said the resort town was one of three sites selected for the development of artisan villages that will accommodate and showcase local craft traders and their products.
  • The engagements will include the construction of a boardwalk from the Ocho Rios Pier to the Ocean Village Shopping Centre and the town’s Main Street commercial district.

The resort town of Ocho Rios in St. Ann is to benefit from an additional $286 million of Government expenditure to undertake further infrastructural developments over the next six months.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who made the announcement, said the engagements will include the construction of a boardwalk from the Ocho Rios Pier to the Ocean Village Shopping Centre and the town’s Main Street commercial district.

This, the Minister further stated, will be complemented by several sidewalk cafés showcasing live reggae band performances, among other attractions, which he said are designed to “improve and enhance the visitor experience.”

He was addressing a recent St. Ann Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios.

Mr. Bartlett said the resort town was also one of three sites selected for the development of artisan villages that will accommodate and showcase local craft traders and their products.

“This will be a real game changer for the craft sector and will see them having far better access to cruise and stopover visitors (as well as) earning some much needed foreign exchange,” he contended.

Mr. Bartlett said Ocho Rios has, in recent years, benefitted from significant Government expenditure totaling more than $1 billion.

This, he informed, has been administered through several state agencies, including the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ).

The Minister said the resulting provisions have underpinned the stakeholder thrust to reposition the town as a “major force” in tourism product offerings.

“The town of Ocho Rios has an integral role to play in maintaining Jamaica’s (global) competitive advantage. However, we will achieve this only by offering a world class competitive tourism product that ensures the first and last impression our visitors have of Jamaica is a pleasant and memorable one,” he underscored.

Mr. Bartlett further contended that Jamaica’s global competitiveness can and will only be sustained through continued improvement of products, services and infrastructure.

“We must, therefore, build strong public/private sector partnerships to leverage (Jamaica’s) natural beauty and cultural heritage…for economic and social success. The focus of the Ministries and our Agencies is to transform tourism in order to generate higher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings,” the Minister said.

This, Mr. Bartlett added, so that “we can achieve our growth targets of five million visitors and $US5 billion in tourism earnings by 2021.”