Plan to Revive Rail Service Welcomed by South-Coast Businessmen

Photo: Garwin Davis Chairman of the south coast chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Jason Henzell.

Story Highlights

  • Business interests on Jamaica’s south coast are hailing the plan to bring back the rail service to their area, describing it as a step in the right direction.
  • In an interview with JIS News, Chairman of the south-coast chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Jason Henzell, said the region offers visitors a different kind of tourism experience, which the rail service will help to boost.
  • A sum of US$250 million will be invested in the resuscitation of the country’s cargo and passenger rail service by the Government and several investors, including United States (US) company Herzog International.

Business interests on Jamaica’s south coast are hailing the plan to bring back the rail service to their area, describing it as a step in the right direction.

According to them, not only will this be a game changer as it relates to business on the south coast, but is something that will assist in diversifying the country’s tourism offerings.

In an interview with JIS News, Chairman of the south-coast chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Jason Henzell, said the region offers visitors a different kind of tourism experience, which the rail service will help to boost.

“I have always believed in tourism on the south coast. People see the south coast as an alternative to the mass-marketing tourism on the north coast and a place where you go for adventure and to see the other side of Jamaica,” Mr. Henzell said.

He pointed out that when the rail service was in operation, the south coast, especially the Appleton Estate Rum Tour, was very popular and held its own in terms of visitor arrivals.

“When the railway was up and running, the Appleton leg of the tour, which started from Montego Bay, was very popular and was probably the number-two or -three attraction in the country,” he added.

A sum of US$250 million will be invested in the resuscitation of the country’s cargo and passenger rail service by the Government and several investors, including United States (US) company Herzog International.

A non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise this project was signed by the Ministry of Transport and Mining, through the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC), and Herzog

Jamaica Limited, which is a subsidiary of United States-based Herzog International, at the Ministry’s Maxfield Avenue offices in Kingston on December 9.

“The announcement of the rail service coincides with Appleton’s $1-billion investment to renovate its rum tour,” Mr. Henzell noted.

“Currently, there are some 500-plus rooms in the Treasure Beach area, with plans for more to come on stream, including over at Sandals Whitehouse. When you put the rail service in the mix, we can see why everyone is so optimistic about the prospects of the south coast,” he added.

For his part, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, told JIS News that he is thrilled with all the new developments on the south coast, adding that projections are panning out “even better than we had anticipated”.

“In talking to all the players on the south coast, the rail service was one of the major sticking points, with everyone agreeing that it is long overdue,” the Minister said.

“I was at the launch of the Appleton Estate Rum Tour $1-billion renovation plan a few weeks ago where the train was again a major topic of discussion. Well, the Government has listened, and we are going to make it a reality,” he added.

JIS Social