The Ministry of Tourism will be assisting with the training of some 2,000 bartenders in the next fiscal year to meet the demand by cruise lines and other entities.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the bartenders will help with the marketing of rums made in Jamaica.
“This year, so far, we have trained 700 bartenders along with Appleton, and the programme is to train 1,200 by the end of this fiscal year, and then in the new (fiscal) year, to go towards the bigger figure of having nearly 2,000 [bartenders trained],” he said, while addressing day two of the inaugural Jamaica Rum Festival at Hope Gardens, St. Andrew, on Sunday (March 10).
Minister Bartlett pointed out that the “training is not just about providing bartenders for our local market, but we have had discussion with the cruise lines and they want 10,000 to 15,000 Jamaican workers to be on board their ships all across the world.”
He commended the organisers and sponsors of the first Jamaica Rum Festival.
“We have outdone ourselves… . We want this to be an annual event where we bring the people of the world to come to Kingston, Jamaica… for the gastronomy experience highlighting all things rum,” he said.
He noted that the festival is in keeping with the Government’s strategy to “drive more cultural products into the tourism mix”.
“We’re excited to build out… the sugar-cane value chain that can take us from (the field) to the brewery and then to the palates of the world,” Minister Bartlett said.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, the Hon. Fayval Williams, who was also in attendance, endorsed the staging of the festival.
“This not only speaks to the creativity of the people, who made this happen, but it also speaks to our future and the growth that we can expect in our tourism and all the offshoots of that,” she said.
Minister Williams said she was pleased to see the various locally-made products on display.
The Jamaica Rum Festival was organised by Appleton Estate in partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Tourism Enhancement Fund, J. Wray & Nephew, Charley’s JB Overproof Rum, Hampden Estate and Monymusk Plantation Rums.
The two-day event provided an array of mixes and blends that refreshed the taste buds of patrons, along with an entertainment package showcasing the island’s reggae and dancehall culture.
There were also workshops and seminars hosted by the J. Wray & Nephew Academy; global rum ambassador, Ian Burrell; senior blender, Appleton Estate, David Morrison; and master blender, Appleton Estate, Joy Spence.