JIS News

Industry and Tourism Minister, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba has said that horticulture has tremendous potential for diversifying Jamaica’s tourism product and offers splendid opportunities for earning more foreign exchange through exports.
Speaking at the Jamaica Horticultural Society’s Annual Flower Show recently at Hope Gardens, the Minister noted that Jamaican gardens have tremendous potential to become very profitable enterprises in the near future.
Citing two major reasons for this, she said that “firstly, floral exports represent one important avenue of opportunity and secondly, our exquisite floral gardens – both privately and publicly-owned – are now being promoted as special attractions of our tourism product.”
Continuing, she pointed out that, the Ministry and agencies would continue pursuing and supporting all efforts to diversify the tourism product, especially in developing attractions, which are community-based. As such, garden tours are high on the list in aiming to position the country as the “Garden of the Caribbean”.
“Indeed, our flowers and foliage appeal to a large and growing segment of the tourism market who are fascinated by our more than 1000 endemic species of plants,” she said.
She further added that the large size of that market was indicated by the fact that in the USA there are 350 orchid societies, with Florida alone having as many as 597 garden clubs.
For its relatively small size, the number of plant species found in Jamaica is astonishing, possessing no less than 3,200 different kinds of native flowering plants including over 200 species of orchids.
“To give you some idea of how highly regarded our flowers and plants are, the Jamaican exhibit has become one of the most popular at the Chelsea Flower Show in London – the largest show of its type anywhere in the world,” she added.
Jamaican representatives have consistently won silver and silver gilt medals, two of the highest awards, at the prestigious flower show.
Mrs. Assamba urged the horticulturalists and garden enthusiasts at the function to utilize the services of government agencies such as the Tourism Product Development Company, the Micro Investment Development Agency and the Jamaica Business Development Centre in the development of their gardens into attractions.”Continue to develop your skills and your gardens because visitors are no longer coming to Jamaica for just sun, sand and sea. They want to experience the unique aspects of our country – our culture, food, and of course, our horticulture,” she said.This year’s show was held under the theme “Horticultural Expressions”.

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