South Coast Tourism on the Move

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (third left); Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon Fayval Williams (third right); and Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (second right); join executives of Campari Group and J. Wray & Nephew Limited at a rum tasting during the opening of the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Tour in St. Elizabeth on January 18. From left are Chairman of the J. Wray & Nephew Limited and J. Wray & Nephew Foundation, Clement Lawrence; Chairman of the Campari Group, Luca Garavoglia; and Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Campari Group, Bob Kunze-Concewitz.

Story Highlights

  • South coast tourism, considered a distant second to the north coast in terms of visitor arrivals, is poised for a boom in 2018.
  • J. Wray & Nephew Limited, having recently opened its Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience in Siloah, St. Elizabeth, is pumping $15 million into the renovation of the popular Scott’s Cove food and rest stop, located on the border of St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland.
  • J. Wray and Nephew invested $1 billion in the total makeover and rebranding of its world-famous Appleton Rum Tour, to include renovation of the property and surrounding landscape; and addition of modern tasting rooms, retail store, and restaurant and lounge offering Appleton-infused Jamaican cuisine.

South coast tourism, considered a distant second to the north coast in terms of visitor arrivals, is poised for a boom in 2018.

The region, known for its breathtaking waterfalls, rivers, beaches and mineral baths; charming hotels and guest houses; and delightful eating spots, has benefited from major investment projects, which will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area.

J. Wray & Nephew Limited, having recently opened its Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience in Siloah, St. Elizabeth, is pumping $15 million into the renovation of the popular Scott’s Cove food and rest stop, located on the border of St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland.

The municipal corporations in both parishes recent signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) giving the green light for the upgrading of the area commonly known as Border.

To be undertaken over an eight-week period, the project involves construction of new stalls for some 20 registered vendors.

In addition, there will be brand-new bathrooms and refurbishing and branding of the entire area.

J. Wray and Nephew invested $1 billion in the total makeover and rebranding of its world-famous Appleton Rum Tour, to include renovation of the property and surrounding landscape; and addition of modern tasting rooms, retail store, and restaurant and lounge offering Appleton-infused Jamaican cuisine.

The expanded and modernised facility is expected to bring in excess of 200,000 visitors to the area annually.

With these development projects and the potential they offer for employment and business opportunities, it is easy to see why many, including Mayor of Black River, His Worship Derrick Sangster, are predicting a kind of “renaissance” for tourism on the island’s southern coast.

Mayor Sangster notes that “all this development” could not have come at a better time for the people of his parish, adding that “this will also be a major boost for our tourism product” and where “we should be seeing a significant increase” in visitor arrivals.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in describing what is taking place on the south coast as “a historic moment in Jamaica’s tourism” said “only great things can come from all the development” taking place.

“These projects will do wonders and boost the tourism earnings for the people of St Elizabeth and neighboring communities,” Mr. Bartlett points out.

“And when you factor in some of the other attractions, such as the Black River Safari, Treasure Beach, Y.S. Falls, Accompong Town and Little Ochi, we can see why south coast tourism is in good hands,” he adds.

Mr. Bartlett says he is of the view that this is “just the tip of the iceberg” and that others “will follow the lead of J. Wray & Nephew and get involved in an area that has a lot of potential.”

Director of Public Affairs and Sustainability for J. Wray & Nephew, Tanikie McClarthy-Allen, says that the investment projects demonstrate her company’s commitment to community development and will add to the appeal of the south coast as a major tourism destination.

“We are of the view that the south coast is about to make a splash in the tourism market,” she opines.

“We have already pumped nearly $1 billion to upgrade our Joy Spence Appleton Experience Tour and now we are also doing this infrastructural development for our vendors here at Scott’s Cove,” she notes.

“By any calculation (this) is a massive investment… and shows how much we are dedicated to south coast tourism. Also, we are expecting to move our annual visitor tally from 50,000 to 200,000 at the Joy Spence Appleton Rum Experience,” she says.

Mrs. McClarthy-Allen noted that the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) will have full oversight at Scott’s Cove, ensuring that the vendors operate in an orderly way and visitors will feel welcomed.

“We want to ensure that our vendors are properly trained and realise the importance of good customer service. This is a great opportunity that we want them to make good use of,” she adds.

For her part, Scott’s Cove Vendors Association Representative, Gloria Cunningham, says it is very encouraging to see that the smaller players on the south coast are not being ignored.

“It’s good to see that something is truly happening for us this time around,” she notes.

“We are famous for our fish and bammy and for also having the best soup you can find anywhere in Jamaica. This will indeed be a major boost for us, as a lot more people will now be coming to Scott’s Cove and, by extension, the south coast,” she points out.

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