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  • “Farm tourism is growing rapidly and a number of countries have been catching on. Here in Jamaica, we could have plantation tours where guests can visit and eat from the farms. By diversifying their businesses, farmers can tap into this niche market by earning foreign exchange while at the same time increase consumption of their local produce,” Mr. Robinson said.
  • In an interview with JIS News, the Canada based businessman said that in discussions with tour operators in places like Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal, he sees where there is huge potential for farm tourism in Jamaica.
  • Juanita Villa is located on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea - with several acres of green and lush vegetation in the background. “This is a villa with a difference, which will allow tourists to become exposed to the Jamaican experience,” Mr. Lewis pointed out.

Farm tourism is fast developing into a lucrative travel market worldwide and one where Jamaica could easily gain a competitive advantage.

General Manger of Round Hill Villas, Hanover, Omar Robinson, told a gathering of farmers at a press conference held recently at the Iberostar Hotel in St. James, that this is a niche market that could boost stopover arrivals.

He cited the agro parks where over 6,000 acres of lands have been brought into production as something which could attract organized tours from hotels and cruise ships.

Some 5,000 persons have benefited directly and indirectly from the agro parks that have been established across the island. The parks are expected to reduce the importation of produce and realize foreign exchange savings of $4 billion.

“Farm tourism is growing rapidly and a number of countries have been catching on. Here in Jamaica, we could have plantation tours where guests can visit and eat from the farms. By diversifying their businesses, farmers can tap into this niche market by earning foreign exchange while at the same time increase consumption of their local produce,” Mr. Robinson said.

He noted that his property not only uses locally produced fruits, but have cultivated an organic herb garden, which has become popular with guests and tour operators.

“It is a big selling point for us; we take the guests to see our organic garden as they are very interested in eating what is organic. We use this as a marketing tool. We are one of the first hotels to have done this… and we are now reaping the benefits,” Mr. Robinson noted.

He added that another of the benefits would be a lesser reliance on imports and that farmers would also have enough incentive to provide produce for the growing tourism market.

“If our farmers are given the assurance that as long as they can meet the required quota, in both quantity and quality, and as long as they can be the main facilitator of farm tourism where tours can be created for them and where there are potential earnings, there is no doubt in my mind that they will and can deliver,” he argued.

For his part, owner of Juanita Villa Resort in Hector’s River, Portland Raymond Lewis, is in agreement.

In an interview with JIS News, the Canada based businessman said that in discussions with tour operators in places like Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal, he sees where there is huge potential for farm tourism in Jamaica.

“I am trying to work with a number of local farmers in Jamaica to develop some truly unique tours that could benefit all of us. At Juanita Villa, all our ground provision and meat kind are locally produced and the farmers have been delivering,” Mr Lewis said.

Juanita Villa is located on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea – with several acres of green and lush vegetation in the background. “This is a villa with a difference, which will allow tourists to become exposed to the Jamaican experience,” Mr. Lewis pointed out.