Amidst the burgeoning tourism sector in Trelawny, several significant developments are underway. RIU is in the final stages of adding 700 new rooms in Falmouth and Harmony Cove is poised to commence construction for a minimum of 1,000 rooms. Additionally, Royalton is in the process of expansion.
ULSTER SPRING, TRELAWNY – Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, wants farmers to reap more from the 42 percent expenditure by Jamaica’s four million tourists on food. He has asserted that visitors love the Jamaican food that had to be provided to make money from the industry.
Pointing to the enormity of the value chain, he says fruits and vegetables alone constituted J$350 billion of demand in tourism, “and we’ve only been able to supply 20 percent of that.”
Minister Bartlett was addressing a gathering of South Trelawny farmers in the rural agricultural community of Ulster Spring on Saturday, September 2, after formally presenting them with some fifty (50) 650-gallon water tanks. He said that with the farmers producing a wide range of food crops, fruits, and vegetables, Trelawny was one of the bread baskets of Jamaica.
The Ministry of Tourism, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), is spending $10 million on the provision of approximately 350 water storage tanks that are being distributed to farmers in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. James, St. Ann, and now Trelawny, with St. Thomas, Portland, and Westmoreland to follow.
The water tank storage project comes at a time when, according to Mr. Bartlett, “Trelawny as a parish is going to, perhaps, become the most touristic parish in the entire country.” In support of that claim, he stated that at the moment there is more construction going on for hotel rooms in the parish and more to come.
Included in the Trelawny tourism boom are 700 new rooms being completed by RIU in Falmouth, Harmony Cove, which will break ground shortly for at least 1,000 rooms, the expansion of Royalton, and other applications from various investors for more tourism facilities and attractions, which Mr. Bartlett said, were awaiting approval by the Trelawny Municipal Corporation.
These will bring more visitors, and “because people come to eat, to drink, and to be entertained, it is our food, our drink, and our entertainment that must be provided for them to consume,” said Minister Bartlett. He asserted, “I am tired of hearing and seeing the big containers come in with all kinds of foodstuff and so on; we want to make the car, the trucks, the pickup, the van, and the trailer move from South Trelawny down into Falmouth and into Duncans Bay and into Montego Bay and all over the place supplying the food that the hotels require that the tourists eat.”
Noting that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Mining was aware of the need, he said, “They have been working with us on the programme, and we in tourism are helping out the small and medium enterprises because you are the salt of the earth in tourism.”
Underscoring that it was the little people providing the sought-after attractions, Minister Bartlett said, “We want to organise that better.” To that end, the Tourism Ministry had developed a three-pronged policy for enhancing small and medium enterprises in tourism, including education and training and providing funding support for innovation and marketing.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Andrea Porteous stated that the farmers appreciated the assistance the tanks and the support from the Tourism Enhancement Fund were providing. The TEF water tank project enables farmers to store water to be available in times of low rainfall. Hon. Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, a member of parliament for Trelawny South, and Councillor Colin Gager, the mayor of Falmouth and the chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, have also endorsed the initiative.
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