JIS News

Tourist arrivals, particularly in Montego Bay, are on the upswing, with thousand of visitors coming into the island for the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, scheduled for January 24 to 26.
The music festival, now rated as one of the top 10 events in the world, will be held at its home base, the Aqueduct, for the third consecutive year. The venue is located in Rose Hall, opposite the Rose Hall Great House.
According to Walter Elmore, Executive Producer of the show, all aspects of the production for this year’s show were falling neatly into place.
“All the sky boxes have been framed up, we are putting the floors in now, and the equipment for the stage and the roof is here. The equipment coming from overseas has been shipped and is at sea on its way, so everything is on stream,” he told JIS News.
He pointed out that a new entrance road to the venue was complete, with a new underpass from the dualized Rose Hall highway put in, with the aim of correcting the traffic congestion, which was evident at last year’s show.
“The whole idea behind this festival is to bring tourists to Jamaica in the slow period,” he said, adding that the show has been shifted from the September/October period in its early years of 1996/1997 to the last weekend in January in more recent years, because of prevailing weather conditions and suggestions from the airlines and hoteliers.
“Now it is one of, if not the busiest period of time in the entire calendar year for tourism in Jamaica,” he said, pointing out that travellers to Jamaica for the show are making reservations in hotels for the following year’s show when they check out each year.
Mr. Elmore said that for the period leading up to the show there would be no available rooms in the city. “The hardcore fact is yes, the hotels are absolutely full, the guest houses are also full, so it’s a major impact for the tourism sector,” he said.
Turning to the charitable aspect of the show, he explained that the producers of the show, Turn Key Productions, recently adopted the Palmyra Foundation as its official charity. The Foundation’s main aim is to furnish all the primary school children of St. James with the necessary and relevant text books.
Mr. Elmore expressed the hope that with the help that would be coming from the Festival, the project could be extended islandwide.