Bartlett aims for gas­tron­omy mar­ket

Jamaica Gleaner - - ACROSS THE NATION -

MIN­IS­TER OF Tourism Ed­mund Bartlett has said that Ja­maica is uniquely poised to tap into the US$150-bil­lion in­ter­na­tional gas­tron­omy mar­ket.

Ad­dress­ing the Gas­tron­omy of Fats and Oils Sem­i­nar on Wed­nes­day at the Hil­ton Rose Hall Re­sort and Spa in St James, Bartlett said stud­ies con­ducted by the tourism min­istry show that food is a ma­jor draw for over­seas vis­i­tors, and that Ja­maica’s culi­nary de­lights rank among the best in the world.

“Ear­lier this year, I in­tro­duced the frame­work to de­velop gas­tron­omy tourism lo­cally. I ap­pointed a gas­tron­omy net­work, which falls un­der the aegis of our tourism link­ages net­work, to de­velop ini­tia­tives to strengthen Ja­maica’s com­pet­i­tive­ness in gas­tron­omy tourism as we di­ver­sify our prod­uct to gen­er­ate higher growth rates in both vis­i­tor ar­rivals and earn­ings,” the min­is­ter said.

CULI­NARY OF­FER­INGS

“Ja­maican food, rum and mu­sic are all crit­i­cal in­gre­di­ents in the build­ing out of this gas­tron­omy ex­pe­ri­ence,” he added.

The min­is­ter said Ja­maica is for­tu­nate to be blessed with culi­nary de­lights born out of the rich di­ver­sity of its her­itage, and that “this fu­sion of cul­tures has cre­ated a melt­ing pot of gas­tro­nomic won­ders that make us ideally po­si­tioned to take ad­van­tage of the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of culi­nary travel”.

He ex­plained that to­day’s vis­i­tor is more ex­pe­ri­enced and in­formed than tourists were 10 years ago, mak­ing it even more im­por­tant for des­ti­na­tions to im­prove on their tourism of­fer­ings.

He pointed out that as gas­tron­omy tourism con­tin­ues to fuel vis­i­tors’ in­ter­est, it is im­per­a­tive that lo­cal chefs are not only skilled in cook­ing, “but also in other as­pects of food prepa­ra­tion”.

“It will re­quire them to keep up­dated with the in­dus­try’s needs in or­der to meet the chal­lenges of a rapidly evolv­ing gas­tron­omy tourism sec­tor. In ad­di­tion, it will chal­lenge us all to pro­duce culi­nary prod­ucts and brands that best rep­re­sent our au­then­tic her­itage,” he said.

Bartlett said that all the ev­i­dence point to the fact that gas­tron­omy tourism pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for stake­hold­ers to add value to the is­land’s tourism sec­tor by di­ver­si­fy­ing the prod­uct while pro­mot­ing lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“It strength­ens the link­ages sec­tors, ben­e­fit­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, sup­pli­ers, farm­ers, food and bev­er­age man­agers and chefs,” Bartlett said.

“At the same time, it ben­e­fits com­mu­ni­ties by sup­port­ing the lo­cal farm­ers, de­vel­op­ing and ex­pand­ing busi­nesses, creating new din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and in­creas­ing overnight stays in lo­cal ho­tels. It also ed­u­cates vis­i­tors about the lo­cal cul­ture and way of life,” he added.

Ja­maican food, rum and mu­sic are all crit­i­cal in­gre­di­ents in the build­ing out of this gas­tron­omy ex­pe­ri­ence.

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