JIS News

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, yesterday (December 7), signed two contracts totalling $95 million, for the comprehensive upgrading of Gloucester Avenue (Hip Strip) in Montego Bay and the development of small hotels and properties across the tourism capital.
The first contract was signed between the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and PA Consulting Limited for the Gloucester Avenue Resort Upgrading Project, which will seek to formulate a strategy and a set of design guidelines for improving the overall appearance and create a distinctive character for the Hip Strip, at a cost US$500,000 (J$35.5 million).
The project is designed to cover Gloucester Avenue from Dead End Beach to Pier One, moving inland along the main road, covering the Harbour Street and Old Fort craft markets.
“I am very excited about this particular area of development because I think it will provide the first signature attraction area in the country. It’s the first that you would be looking at a dedicated area within a resort community that is going to become an entertainment theme park by itself. It is intended to have it pedestrianised in the end and to ensure that you are moving from one attraction to another along this strip,” Mr. Bartlett told participants at the official signing ceremony at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay.
He pointed out that the project should get underway soon and should be completed within 36 weeks.
The second contract signed was between the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and JN Small Business Loans Limited for the TEF Small Property Hurricane Dean Loan Programme, which will see some $60 million available for improving and reviving the small properties within the hotel sector at a low of 2.5 per cent interest.
“The programme calls for an initial disbursement of $24 million, a second disbursement of $12 million, a third disbursement of $12 million and a final disbursement of $12 million. All of this will be over a short period of time . so that we can start making loans available to the small business sector immediately,” Mr. Bartlett noted.
He pointed out that the overall time period for the completion of both projects would be 68 weeks, at the end of which there would be “an economic restructuring designed to identify the Hip Strip’s best market opportunities and develop a realistic and sustainable strategy to strengthen existing businesses, including art and craft, develop new ones and find new types of use for the strip.”