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JIS News

Since its inception in May 2005, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has approved funding valued at $1.1 billion for 60 projects islandwide.
Speaking at a recent Think Tank session at the JIS head office in Kingston, Executive Director of the TEF, Ian Neita informed that these projects include the beautification, general maintenance and clean-up of the island’s resort towns and some heritage tourism sites.
Recently, he said, the TEF committed to the funding of projects that will help to make the industry ready for the upcoming winter tourist season, which begins on December 15.
One such project is the small hotel facility programme, where $60 million was committed towards the general upgrade and upkeep of small hotels, attractions, villas and apartments.
“Running alongside this programme,” he said, “is the ‘Spruce up’ campaign which is a private/public sector initiative working with the industry players to improve the look and aesthetics of the resort areas.”
The TEF has allotted $58 million towards this campaign, which will involve painting curb walls, cross walks, shop front areas, removal of derelict vehicles and shacks along with the placing of garbage receptacles in convenient locations.
The TEF is also facilitating a general resort development programme, which will be heavily focused on entrance ways, visitor convenience, traffic management and pedestrian facilities.
The Executive Director explained that the programme will be implemented over a 50-week period in Ocho Rios and Negril, with the phase involving the Hip Strip of Montego Bay to run for 38 weeks.
On completion of the three resort areas, the programme will move into Port Antonio, Kingston and the South Coast resort areas.
Turning to heritage tourism sites, Mr. Neita informed that $72 million was approved for the renovation and beautification of Port Royal. Of the sum, approximately $20 million have already been spent in transforming Fort Charles, the quarter deck, look-out towers and the museums.
“We have converted one of the bays in the old naval hospital to a theatre and have developed a video of the history of Port Royal,” he told JIS News.
Additionally, $60 million was committed for work at the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann and $17 million for the Titchfield peninsular in Portland. The TEF is financed through fees collected from incoming airline and cruise ship passengers. The funds are to be used in a prudent manner and to finance projects that are intended to enhance the tourism product.