JIS News

Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, is predicting growth of between 3.5 and 7 per cent for South Coast tourism in the next 10 years.
One of the main areas of focus in the government’s Ten-Year Master Plan is the sustainable development on the island’s south coast.
“Based on the performance of other nature-based destinations in the Caribbean that have doubled their tourist numbers in five years, we see a South Coast target of doubling its share of Jamaican tourism over the next 10 years from 3.5 per cent to 7 per cent as achievable,” the Minister told members of the Diplomatic Corps, recently at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
“With the growing demand for nature-based tourism, the south coast is poised for growth in attracting niche groups such as bird watchers, wildlife photographers, and those seeking a working holiday or edifying experience based on archaeology or conservation work,” Mrs. Assamba added.
She cited the vast potential for development that resided in the South Coast, while noting the importance of careful management to allow persons to enjoy the economic benefits of the natural resources, while preserving those resources for future generations.
The South Coast of Jamaica extends from the Hellshire Hills west of Kingston to the eastern boundary of Negril and spans five parishes – Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon and St. Catherine.
Following Government’s undertaking to facilitate a planned approach to the expected growth in the tourism industry and to explore environmentally sustainable pathways to economic growth, the Inter-American Development Bank financed a study of the physical and socio-economic characteristics of the South Coast that was completed in 1999. Dubbed the South Coast Sustainable Development Programme, the second phase involved the design of a project comprising Tourism Development, protected Areas Management, Fisheries Improvement, as well as Capacity Building and institutional Development.
Mrs. Assamba told the group that the tourism development component offers promising investment opportunities. She boosted the St. Elizabeth capital as providing a physical link between the centres of Negril and Montego Bay, from where access to central and eastern parts of the South Coast was not possible in a single day. The planned investments in Black River are aimed at enhancing the town’s reputation as a vibrant community in which to live and work.
Minister Assamba said she was looking forward to partnering with investors from the respective countries in this promising plan for the South Coast.