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Story Highlights

  • The resort town of Port Antonio, in Portland, is on a priority list for development, says Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
  • Mr. Bartlett said he visited Berrydale to meet with rafters who were affected by recent heavy rains, to discuss ways to get them back on their feet.
  • Meanwhile, Chairman of the Port Antonio Resort Board, Larry Robertson, told JIS News that the town, one of the earliest resort areas, used to attract the rich and famous from across the globe, including some notable Hollywood celebrities.

The resort town of Port Antonio, in Portland, is on a priority list for development, says Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

In an interview with JIS News following the recent Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) tourism trade show at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, the Minister said he was aware of the town’s potential and was looking forward to working with stakeholders to return Port Antonio to its glory days.

He added that he has been in discussion with Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, as it relates to community tourism in the Buff Bay valley.

Mr. Vaz is also the Member of Parliament for Western Portland, which comprises the Buff Bay valley and parts of Berrydale, where rafting takes place on the Rio Grande river, and Somerset Falls.

“There is a lot of potential in that area and we intend to capitalize on it. And, with the Blue and John Crow Mountains now being a World Heritage Site, I can foresee a lot of interest by tour operators in the parish of Portland,” he told JIS News.

Mr. Bartlett said he visited Berrydale to meet with rafters who were affected by recent heavy rains, to discuss ways to get them back on their feet.

“Rio Grande rafting is a great Portland tradition and a major tourism draw. We have to make these stakeholders know that when the chips are down, we in the industry will always be there for them,” the Minister said.

The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), with funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), has spent millions of dollars on several rehabilitation projects in Port Antonio, including the Port Antonio Craft Market and the Neville Antonio Park. Work was also done on the Berrydale Road and the world famous Boston Beach, home of Boston Jerk.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Port Antonio Resort Board, Larry Robertson, told JIS News that the town, one of the earliest resort areas, used to attract the rich and famous from across the globe, including some notable Hollywood celebrities.

“We have some of the best beaches in the island and also some of the finest attractions. The roads are a lot better, and it is now a most relaxing and enjoyable ride into Port Antonio,” he said.

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