Bartlett: Appleton up­grade key in gas­tron­omy tourism push

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - Janet Sil­vera Se­nior Gleaner Writer janet.sil­vera@glean­erjm.com >> See re­lated story on Page C11.

WESTERN BUREAU:

This in­vest­ment will not only cre­ate ad­di­tional em­ploy­ment for per­sons in Siloah and neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties, but it will at­tract even more vis­i­tors to the south coast.

MIN­IS­TER OF Tourism Ed­mund Bartlett says the mas­sive in­fras­truc­tural up­grade at the Appleton Es­tate Visi­tor Cen­tre in Siloah, St El­iz­a­beth, will be cen­tral to the min­istry’s thrust to tap into the lu­cra­tive gas­tron­omy tourism mar­ket.

Ad­dress­ing tourism in­ter­ests and other stake­hold­ers at the of­fi­cial ground­break­ing at the Appleton Es­tate Rum Tour fa­cil­ity last Fri­day, Bartlett said the Ja­maica Tourist Board (JTB)’s mar­ket­ing team has been care­fully study­ing the grow­ing ap­peal of gas­tro tourism, point­ing out that some US$23.7 bil­lion was spent in the sec­tor world­wide by Amer­i­can trav­ellers last year alone.

He fur­ther added that Ja­maica will be ag­gres­sively pro­mot­ing its culi­nary of­fer­ing in the mar­ket­place and said at­trac­tions such as the Appleton Es­tate Rum Tour will be used as ma­jor “pull fac­tors”.

“We see this in­vest­ment by J. Wray & Nephew and Gruppo Cam­pari as a new state­ment that Ja­maica is about to make to the world,” Bartlett ex­plained.

“To­day we are an­nounc­ing to the world that the Appleton Es­tate Rum Tour is go­ing to be the cen­tre­piece of our gas­tron­omy ar­range­ment for the south coast of Ja­maica.”

Bartlett pointed out that not only does the nearly $1 bil­lion be­ing in­vested fit per­fectly into the Govern­ment’s growth strat­egy but that it also rep­re­sents “one of the most sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in our at­trac­tions sub­sec­tor in re­cent months”.

“This in­vest­ment will not only cre­ate ad­di­tional em­ploy­ment for per­sons in Siloah and neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties, but it will at­tract even more vis­i­tors to the south coast,” he stressed.

“We wel­come this ven­ture, which will pro­vide a con­sid­er­able boost to our ef­forts to gen­er­ate dou­ble-digit growth in the sec­tor by pro­mot­ing in­vest­ment, which is one of our five pil­lars of tourism growth.”

FIRST-HAND EX­PE­RI­ENCE A PLUS

And while point­ing out that “there is noth­ing that beats au­then­tic­ity”, Bartlett said the new Appleton ex­pe­ri­ence, which will give vis­i­tors the unique op­por­tu­nity of view­ing first-hand the devel­op­ment of rum “from cane to cup”, will cer­tainly en­hance the ap­peal of the at­trac­tion.

For his part, chair­man of J. Wray & Nephew, Cle­ment ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, said the in­vest­ment showed fur­ther com­mit­ment by his com­pany to as­sist in the ex­pan­sion of Ja­maica’s tourism and to give the south coast re­gion a pride of place among the is­land’s re­sort ar­eas.

“We are ex­pect­ing this to trans­form the en­tire south coast into a ma­jor tourism hot spot,” Lawrence.

“There will be the ad­di­tion of mod­ern rooms to fa­cil­i­tate the tast­ing of rum, a restau­rant and lounge which will of­fer Appleton-in­fused Ja­maica cui­sine along with an ex­pan­sive re­tail store. These el­e­ments will to­tally trans­form the Appleton Es­tate Rum Tour.”

Lawrence quipped that the ex­pan­sion would never be con­sid­ered com­plete if jerked cui­sine was not among the food of­fer­ing.

“We are con­vinced that the ad­di­tion of an au­then­tic Jamaican jerk pit, which will be the show­piece of the restau­rant, will cre­ate a win­ning com­bi­na­tion of rum and jerk,” he noted.

“Here at Appleton, you will find one of Ja­maica’s most renowned brands and our iconic jerk cui­sine. This will cer­tainly pro­vide a tan­ta­lis­ing blend of gas­tro­nomic of­fer­ings which vis­i­tors will find ir­re­sistible.”

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