Infrastructure development key to tourism's sustainability — Bartlett

Monday, March 19, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the tourism industry's sustainability rests to a great extent on investment in extensive infrastructure development and the sector's modernisation.

He said it is against this background that the ministry and its agencies are working diligently to provide a product with services meeting the needs and exceeding the expectations of visitors and industry partners through projects like the $550-million Hampden Wharf development in Falmouth, for which ground was broken last Friday.

“The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) are critical to this mandate. Both agencies work with our many partners to diversify and improve the various offerings in terms of attractions, accommodation, entertainment, shopping, cuisine and service,” the minister said while speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony.

Bartlett noted that both agencies are committed to boosting Jamaica's tourism product, pointing out that many programmes have been implemented that are geared towards beautifying the main resorts and public thoroughfares; training tourism workers, with emphasis on “high touch service”, in pursuit of excellence; and enhancing the safety and comfort of visitors and locals.

In this regard, he said the overall plan for Falmouth, in particular, is to build out the town and port infrastructure to enhance the visitor experience, “so that when cruise ships dock, there are compelling reasons for (passengers) to disembark”.

To this end, Bartlett welcomed the collaboration involving the ministry, Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and Urban Development Corporation (UDC) on the Hampden Wharf development, which he said “will transform the town of Falmouth”.

Bartlett said the project, which is being financed by the TEF, will include an extension of the port; restaurants; an entertainment centre; shops; landscaped areas; paved walkways; story boards; and adaptive reuse of historic buildings such as the Dome Foundry and Tharpe House, reflecting a “rich mix of retail establishments, local eateries, craft and history”.

Additionally, he said the development “will create jobs, generate income and raise living standard, which is good for the local economy and the town's residents”.

Bartlett said the TEF and its partners are also undertaking the $279.9-million Falmouth Streetscape Project, which entails infrastructural works to provide safe and accessible sidewalks; and improved drainage and sewerage systems, and lighting, complemented by effective traffic management.

He advised that work on Harbour Lane, Market Street and Falmouth Street has been completed, and that the rehabilitation of Tharpe Street has commenced and is slated for completion during the second quarter of the 2018/19 fiscal year.

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