JIS News

A six-week beautification and public education programme, estimated to cost $40 million and targeting the island’s tourist resort areas, will be launched next week.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, who announced the programme in Montego Bay recently, following a meeting with stakeholders in the tourism industry, said that the initiative will be financed through the Tourism Enhancement Fund and private sector support. “We are expecting an overall budget demand of perhaps $40 million, of which we are going to be providing $24 million and the rest will come from our private partners. This expenditure is not strictly in terms of dollar payments and disbursements, but by way of the value of the resource support that we will be getting from the various teams that are involved in the programme,” he explained.
According to the Tourism Minister, the programme will involve improving the physical outlook of the resort areas, and sensitizing Jamaicans about the value of tourism, its significance in terms of the enrichment of the country, and impacting every facet of the society.
“Tourism has the capability to link more than 23 other industries, some of which are not yet even in existence in Jamaica, but can come on stream to provide more jobs, to provide more earnings, to provide more revenue,” he pointed out.
He said it is important that the money earned from tourism penetrate the society, so that people will embrace the industry.
President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pauline Reid, in the meantime, pledged her organization’s full support and commitment to the programme.
“We have to clean up our resort cities,” she said. “This is a product that has a lot to do with the way we look and the way we project ourselves as a resort destination, and I think it is very commendable that he (Minister Bartlett) has chosen to spruce up the resort cities before the start of the winter season. You have our full support Minister, and whatever we have to do to work with you to ensure that this programme works, we will be there to give our full support,” she stated.
The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) also pledged support for the initiative, which is scheduled to be officially launched on October 26 in St. Ann.