- The funds are primarily allocated for the beautification and upgrading of major landmarks, heritage sites and resort areas.
- The Executive Director noted that approximately $200 million is allotted annually towards the general beautification and upkeep of the resort towns and surrounding areas.
- The TEF has allotted funds for the provision of motor bikes, a surveillance van and other vehicles to the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Clyde Harrison, has reported that the entity spends an estimated $2 billion each year on projects and programmes geared at enhancing the nation’s tourism product.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on May 6, the Executive Director pointed out that the funds are primarily allocated for the beautification and upgrading of major landmarks, heritage sites and resort areas, to strengthen community-based tourism, craft development, training within the sector as well as enhancing the overall experience for visitors and locals.
“The idea behind the TEF from its inception some nine years ago, was to finance the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development through its five main tenets – sustainable market position, which gives us significant responsibility for funding many areas of our marketing; enhancing the visitor experience; community based development; environmental sustainability and maintaining an inclusive industry,” Mr. Harrison explained.
Giving updates on the various projects, the Executive Director noted that approximately $200 million is allotted annually towards the general beautification and upkeep of the resort towns and surrounding areas.
“We also do maintenance of the North Coast roads; beautification of the elegant corridor in Montego Bay and now a major transformation of the Ocho Rios resort,” he noted.
Mr. Harrison added that the TEF has financed rehabilitation work at the Milk River Bath in Clarendon; beautification of major parks in Black River and Mandeville, with extensive work planned for the resort town of Negril.
“We should run the length of Norman Manley Boulevard by creating a dual pathway for walking and riding with the proper ambiance, lighting and landscaping,” he outlined.
The resort town of Ocho Rios is now undergoing major transformation through the phased implementation of an enhancement project, valued at $400 million.
This project, the Executive Director said, includes the full upgrading of the cruise ship terminal and the parking area and major reconstruction of the Turtle River Road, between the pier and Main Street.
To further promote security and safety, primarily in the resort areas, the TEF has allotted funds for the provision of motor bikes, a surveillance van and other vehicles to the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
“We have also done marine security and have given speed boats to the Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Negril and Montego Bay resorts,” he informed.
In terms of craft development, Mr. Harrison noted that $33 million was spent on the rehabilitation of the Victoria craft market, in downtown Kingston, and there are now plans for the retrofitting of the Harbour Street craft market in Montego Bay.
The TEF has also financed training within the sector with the most recent being the Language Skills Training Programme, which saw close to 270 persons in the tourism industry trained in conversational Russian and Spanish.