Over $1 bil­lion in­vested in Ocho Rios tourism

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

Bri­tish Air­ways cabin crew will strike for seven days phased over March 20-30.

TOURISM MIN­IS­TER Ed­mund Bartlett has re­vealed that more than $1 bil­lion has been in­vested in Ocho Rios in re­cent years to en­hance the re­sort town.

Bartlett also noted that ex­cept for com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ments, all sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments tak­ing place in Ocho Rios were be­ing driven by the tourism dol­lar.

“Bil­lions of dol­lars have been spent in Ocho Rios over the last 10 years in at­tempt­ing to build out the des­ti­na­tion and to en­sure des­ti­na­tion in­tegrity,” he said.

The min­is­ter was ad­dress­ing tourism stake­hold­ers dur­ing a joint meet­ing of the Ocho Rios Chap­ter of the Ja­maica Ho­tel and Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion and the St Ann Cham­ber of Com­merce, at the Moon Palace Ja­maica Grande Re­sort on Wed­nes­day.

He pointed out that the Tourism En­hance­ment Fund (TEF) and the Tourism Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment Com­pany (TPDCo) have pumped huge amounts of funds into the town in part­ner­ship with other govern­ment agen­cies such as the Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (UDC) and the Port Author­ity of Ja­maica (PAJ).

The tourism min­is­ter listed some of the con­tri­bu­tions.


In con­tin­u­a­tion of its sig­nif­i­cant sup­port for na­tional se­cu­rity, in the last two months, a fur­ther $100 mil­lion has been com­mit­ted to the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force to ac­quire new ve­hi­cles and re­pair dis­abled ones.

In solid waste, TPDCo has a $500-mil­lion pro­gramme with the Na­tional Solid Waste Man­age­ment Author­ity (NSWMA) for the rest of the fis­cal year to en­sure re­sort ar­eas are cleaned and main­tained.

Ad­di­tion­ally, un­der the Ocho Rios Im­prove­ment project, some $400 mil­lion has been al­lo­cated to the town for this re­de­vel­op­ment project, some of which has al­ready been spent, in­clud­ing $68.2 mil­lion on the Tur­tle River Min­is­ter of Tourism Ed­mund Bartlett (sec­ond right) and and his col­league, Min­is­ter of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity and Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for North East St Ann Shahine Robin­son (right), are caught in a post meet­ing con­ver­sa­tion with Pix­ley Irons (left), pres­i­dent of the St Ann Cham­ber of Com­merce; and Ja­maica Ho­tel and Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion (JHTA) mem­ber Brian Roper, dur­ing a joint meet­ing of the Ocho Rios Chap­ter of the JHTA and the St Ann Cham­ber of Com­merce, at the Moon Palace Ja­maica Grande Re­sort on Wed­nes­day.

Road and $29 mil­lion re­fur­bish­ing the cruise ship pier.

An­other $13 mil­lion has been spent, en­hanc­ing from the pier gate to the ma­rina and $97 mil­lion on the ter­mi­nal build­ing and park­ing lot.

Bartlett dis­closed that “a fur­ther $286 mil­lion will be spent in the com­ing months as we con­tinue our ef­forts to re­new and im­prove the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence in Ocho Rios”.

From that sum, $102 mil­lion has been ear­marked for re­de­vel­op­ment of the board­walk/prom­e­nade from the Ma­rina to the park­ing lot at Ocho Rios Bay Beach and $184.7 mil­lion for re­de­vel­op­ment of Main Street from Tur­tle River Road to the Ocean Vil­lage Shop­ping Cen­tre.

Ocho Rios is also to be the site of one of three ar­ti­san vil­lages which will help to stream­line the busi­ness “of how ‘craft en­trepreneurs’

are po­si­tioned, ac­com­mo­dated and en­abled to pro­duce their goods” with the fo­cus be­ing on indige­nous art and craft.

Bartlett said the de­sign process for the vil­lages had started and fund­ing iden­ti­fied.


With the Min­istry of Tourism, through its agen­cies, al­lo­cat­ing such large sums to the in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment of Ocho Rios, he made an ap­peal to the peo­ple of the re­sort town to shoul­der some re­spon­si­bil­ity for its sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and for them to be more proac­tive in this process.

“We are hold­ing all the agen­cies ac­count­able, but who is hold­ing the town ac­count­able for keep­ing these things in pris­tine con­di­tion af­ter we have de­liv­ered it to them?” asked Bartlett.

He was re­spond­ing to ques­tions raised by some stake­hold­ers

who felt enough was not be­ing done to sus­tain the im­age of the town as a ma­jor tourist re­sort. Their con­cerns were pre­sented to Bartlett and his col­league Min­is­ter of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity Shahine Robin­son.

How­ever, in un­der­scor­ing the need for stew­ard­ship, Bartlett said the peo­ple of the town also needed to be held ac­count­able “be­cause putting more and more money into the town only to come back and to be told that this is to be done and that is to be done again is a waste of time and money”.

On a broader level, Bartlett also said TPDCo was be­ing repo­si­tioned and “the re­view of the Tourist Board Act had been com­pleted which will al­low for a stronger sense of qual­ity con­trol and li­cens­ing to en­able greater re­spon­si­bil­ity, not just from our side but from your side as stake­hold­ers”.


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