TEF Approves $65 Million to Rehabilitate Heritage Tourism Sites


The Board of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has approved more than $65 million for the rehabilitation and beautification of some of the island’s landmarks and heritage tourism sites.
Executive Director of the TEF, Ian Neita told JIS News that of the sum, $13 million would go towards the redevelopment of the Cinchona Botanical Gardens, which would involve “the restoration of the house, gardens, hiking trails, walkways, and camping facilities,” while another $1.9 million has been approved to re-roof the Ward Theatre.
The TEF, he noted, would also facilitate a $4.9 million project known as the ‘Operation Fish Grow’ at the Montego Bay Marine Park, which is designed to restore the fish population in the area.
“This area in the Marine Park has been over fished and with the co-operation of the fishermen, we are going to have an agreement to a no-fishing zone,” Mr. Neita explained.
He added that the TEF would also assist with the outfitting of boats and the purchase of moorings that would allow the Maine Park to police an area that is intended to restore the fish population.
Additionally, the TEF has approved $45 million for development projects in the Portland area, which include restoration and beautification work in the town centre and the entrance ways, while another $455,000 has been granted to the Duckensfield Community Development Commission for the revitalization of Jonkunnu art in St. Thomas. This grant, the Executive Director noted, would assist with “the creation of costumes, the establishment of workshops and the training of new entrants into the art.”
Mr. Neita made an appeal to communities, the public sector and community-based organizations to create and conceptualize projects that are “environmentally friendly, sustainable and will enhance Jamaica’s overall image.”
The TEF was established in 2005 with fees collected from visitors to the island. The funds are to be used in a prudent manner and to finance projects that are intended to enhance the tourism product.

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