Minister of Tourism, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said that the Ministry will be looking at ways to use events such as the just concluded Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival to pull visitors to the country during weak travel periods.
“One of the things we are going to have to focus on and look at seriously, is how we are going to use events more effectively to fill the weaker areas in our tourism calendar … especially during September, October and November periods. We are going to look at how we can use some events to build and encourage travel during these slow times and to show off some of the tremendous products we have in our country,” he stated.
Dr. McNeill was speaking to JIS News about the three-day festival, which was held from January 26 to 28 at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.
Lauding the success of the event, which drew in record crowds, the Minister, said he was satisfied that it had achieved its objective of marketing Jamaica and boosting domestic tourism.
“Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival has done what it was supposed to do. In fact, it has done two things, because while it is great for marketing Jamaica outside as a festival destination, it really has boosted our domestic tourism,” he stated.
“What you find is Jamaicans from across the far reaches of the island converged in Montego Bay and Trelawny, with hotel rooms booked out,” he added.
Dr. McNeill noted that the performances were exceptional especially that of international recording artiste Celine Dion, and lauded the organisers for reserving a night for reggae music.
“Given the 50th anniversary of our Independence, I think that it was very fitting to have a night (Thursday 26) dedicated to Jamaican music. This night followed the history of Jamaican music and was well appreciated and so well produced and well received,” he told JIS News.
State Minister, Hon. Damion Crawford, also expressed pleasure that one night of the festival had been dedicated to reggae music, which has impacted the world for more than 50 years.
“We are happy for these events and we want more of them to be held. We are looking forward to more reggae events as well, because reggae is that gift that we have given to the world.
“I would want our youth to realise that as a country, Jamaica is not only 50 years, but 50 not out. We are not out of hope, we are not out of aspirations, we are not out of belief that we can be a better country … I want our young people to take from this event of Jazz and Blues, that like an event, we continue to grow and that we all have a contribution to make to society,” Mr. Crawford stated.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter