JIS News

Since its inception in May 2005, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has committed to funding projects at a total cost of $251 million.
Speaking at a press briefing, Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun Ndombet Assamba pointed out that these projects included the beautification, general maintenance and clean-up of the island’s resort towns and some heritage tourist sites as well as customer service training programmes for the tourism industry staff and craft vendors. The briefing was held on October 4 at the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) offices in Kingston. In relation to resort towns, the Minister noted that, “a comprehensive resort plan has been developed for Ocho Rios, Negril, and the Montego Bay hip strip”. She noted that funds were approved for the clean-up and beautification exercises in all the resort towns, including $9.5 million towards main street rehabilitation, beautification and landscaping in Ocho Rios; and $4.8 million towards the construction of a round-about near Mineral Heights in Clarendon, to facilitate traffic flow along the island’s southern corridor. The Minister pointed out that the TEF Board would be undertaking other projects which were associated with the staging of the ICC Cricket World Cup next year. One such project, she noted, was the beautification of the entrances to the city of Kingston, including the roadway from Norman Manley International Airport, along the Humming Bird route into New Kingston and from Jose Marti along the Ferry Road into downtown Kingston. She said that in keeping with Cricket World Cup, funds totalling $50 million were approved for the beautification and upgrading of three of the island’s landmarks and heritage tourist sites. Of the sum, $25 million would go towards upgrading works at National Heroes Park; $20 million to Devon House, while $4.8 million has been approved for Trench Town Culture Yard. Turning to training, Minister Assamba added that $3.3 million was approved for customer service training for the staff at the island’s two airports.Additional funds have been approved for customer service training programmes in selected craft markets in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Kingston.
“We recognize that the craft markets are an important aspect of the tourism product and we need to work with our craft vendors, since they continuously interface with our visitors,” Minister Assamba noted. Speaking of future projects, the Minister informed that some “additional projects totalling $167 million are currently under review for approval by the TEF Board”. The Minister made an appeal to communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and community based organizations to create and conceptualize projects that are “in keeping with the tourism master plan”, and would sustain tourism development. The TEF was set up from 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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