- The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has been significant throughout the past 15 years, playing an integral role in driving the innovation and development of the local tourism sector, and enriching the lives of Jamaican citizens through key community projects.
- This particularly holds true in the tourism capital of Montego Bay and the wider St. James, where the TEF has been effective in solving social issues and creating new opportunities for the people of the parish.
- At the recent launch of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce Expo 2019, held at S Hotel in St. James, Chairman of the organisation, Godfrey Dyer, outlined that the TEF has numerous projects in the parish.
The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has been significant throughout the past 15 years, playing an integral role in driving the innovation and development of the local tourism sector, and enriching the lives of Jamaican citizens through key community projects.
This particularly holds true in the tourism capital of Montego Bay and the wider St. James, where the TEF has been effective in solving social issues and creating new opportunities for the people of the parish.
At the recent launch of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce Expo 2019, held at S Hotel in St. James, Chairman of the organisation, Godfrey Dyer, outlined that the TEF has numerous projects in the parish.
“I can say with pride that the Tourism Enhancement Fund has done more for Montego Bay than you know,” he said.
The construction of a state-of-the-art beach park at Closed Harbour Beach in Montego Bay is one of a number of recent pioneering initiatives that the agency has wholeheartedly endorsed in the city.
The TEF has contributed $700 million towards the funding of the major development on the 16-acre property commonly known as ‘Dump-up’ Beach. This is being undertaken in partnership with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
“When this is finished, it will be the nicest park in the Caribbean,” Mr. Dyer argued.
Furthermore, the TEF has continued to support the National Works Agency (NWA) and the St. James Municipal Corporation in their respective road improvement programmes over the years.
These roadworks include the erection of sidewalks and verges on Harbour Street and Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, as well as the current paving of Kent Avenue, which leads to the popular ‘Dead End Beach’.
The agency has also funded the municipality’s sidewalk rehabilitation programme, aimed at improving sidewalks and drainage systems along a number of streets throughout downtown Montego Bay.
“The Tourism Enhancement Fund has given Montego Bay its own cultural centre (Montego Bay Cultural Centre) in the historic Sam Sharpe Square. You must also know that the Tourism Enhancement Fund is responsible for rescuing a historic landmark and the source of Montego Bay’s first case of domestic water supply, the Creek Dome. The repairs of the dome were done by us,” Mr. Dyer pointed out.
Education is also a major focus of the agency as it supports hands-on learning for students to develop real-life skills. Schools such as the Montego Bay Community College, Mt. Alvernia High School and Montego Bay High School are among the institutions that have benefited from the agency’s financial commitments.
“The Tourism Enhancement Fund has enabled repairs to the St. James Municipal Corporation and the St. James Parish Church as well as the Burchell Baptist Church. We did major repairs there; we reroofed the Burchell [Memorial] Baptist Church. So, we are touching the lives in every area,” Mr. Dyer said.
In an interview with JIS News, Pastor of the Burchell Baptist Church, Davewin Thomas, lauded the agency for its assistance and urged the organisation to continue having “that kind of intervention in these types of structures.”
“The [church] roof became infested with termites and the termites undermined its integrity, and it started to give way. The structure itself had a peculiar design and in order to get back that design it would have been extremely costly, and knowing the sort of cost, we started to seek help and thank God the Tourism Enhancement Fund came to our rescue and gave a substantial amount towards its rehabilitation,” Pastor Thomas said.
For his part, Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Leeroy Williams, told JIS News that the agency has “played a significant role in Montego Bay’s development, in terms of assisting in a number of enterprises.”
“They have been very helpful, especially in the running of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre and in terms of repairs,” he said.
The TEF was established in 2005 to implement recommendations emanating from the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development.
In 2018, the agency was restructured to operate as a centre for innovation for tourism, with responsibility for strategic and targeted projects that support key activities aimed at realising growth targets.
The new model will see TEF expanding to include three new divisions: Tourism Linkages Network, Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation and Craft Development Institute.