JIS News

The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), has approved $817 million for projects and programmes geared at enhancing and developing Jamaica’s tourism product.
Speaking at a recent press briefing at the Ministry of Tourism’s offices in New Kingston, Minister Edmund Bartlett, pointed out that funds have been allocated to improve and upgrade resorts and tourism centres throughout the island as a means of creating the “wow effect” and enhancing the overall visitor experience.
Of the sum, $70 million will be invested in port security in an effort to ensure the safety of locals and visitors alike. The Minister informed that a contract has been finalised with Marksman Limited, to provide port security arrangements throughout the resort areas.
The TEF has also allocated some $114 million towards a craft market development programme.
Minister Bartlett informed that the programme will be undertaken in two phases with phase one being the general refurbishing and upgrading of the existing markets.
This initiative, the Minister noted, would allow “more comfort to the vendors and a greater opportunity for more effective merchandising so that a more attractive presentation is there for the visitors.”
“The programme will also facilitate the creation of artisan villages, which will be a far more sophisticated approach to craft merchandising in Jamaica, where these villages are going to be by themselves attractions and will be a must for every visitor who comes to Jamaica,” the Tourism Minister continued.
Giving a breakdown of the various contracts, the Minister outlined that $29.7 million has been awarded for the upgrading of the Musgrave Market and Neville Antonio Park in Port Antonio, Portland; $11.1 million for the Negril Craft market in Westmoreland ; $25.6 million to the Old Forte and Harbour Street Craft markets in Montego Bay, St. James; and $46.9 million for the Ocho Rios Craft market in St. Ann. Completion of work on these markets is expected by mid-2009.
Highlighting other major projects, the Minister informed that $72 million was approved for the renovation and beautification of Port Royal, outside Kingston. Work will include the redevelopment of Fort Charles, the old naval hospital, and the ‘giddy house’.
The TEF is also facilitating a $22 million project at the Hope Botanical Gardens in St. Andrew, which involves the upgrading of the walkways, pavilion and gardens, while another $92 million has been allocated for the rehabilitation and beautification of Devon House also in St. Andrew.
Other major projects to be undertaken include the refurbishing of the Ward Theatre and the beautification of the entrances to the City of Kingston including the roadway from the Norman Manley International Airport along the Humming Bird route into New Kingston, and from Mandela Highway to Twickenham Park in St. Catherine.