Bartlett says Gov't expanding access to beaches

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 02, 2019

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MINISTER of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says the Government is taking steps to ensure that the development of resort areas is inclusive.

“In order to ensure that tourism development in Jamaica is truly inclusive, we have also been taking the necessary steps to ensure that the development of amenities, in and around resort areas, benefit both locals and visitors alike,” Bartlett said in his sectoral debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

He stated that this is in keeping with Government policy that there must be guaranteed access given to locals to enjoy the country's natural resources, including the island's best beaches.

He said that the vision of inclusive access to the country's beaches is being executed through the Government's Beach Development Programme, in partnership the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

He noted that, under this programme, the ministry has spent roughly $200 million, in recent times, upgrading various beach facilities islandwide, including: Mount Salem Beach (St Ann), at a cost of $26 million; Marking Stone Beach (St Mary), at a cost of $38.3 million; Lyssons Beach (St Thomas), at a cost of $49.6 million; Boston Beach (Portland), at a cost of $27.8 million; and the beautification of the area leading to Winnifred Beach (Portland), at a cost of $35 million.

He also noted that work undertaken at these facilities include the installation and renovation of gazebos, restrooms, wash-off stands, parking facilities, landscaping work, construction of guard houses, and the upgrading of sewage treatment plants.

“The TEF is looking at several other beaches for development and/or upgrade work, thereby dramatically expanding public access over the coming months and years,” he stated.

“It is important to note that we are committed to the strengthening of community tourism, as we believe that this is where the essence of the experience lies. It is also the heartbeat of the real Jamaica and represents a strong and appealing feature of the tourism product,” he pointed out.

He added that an increasing number of people were demanding local experiences, by interacting with ordinary Jamaicans in their communities.

“In that regard, we have decided to provide near $300 million to create authentic tourism experiences in 63 communities across Jamaica. Each Member of Parliament will be allocated at least J$4 million to work in conjunction with the TPDCo (Tourism Product Development Company) in designing and implementing those projects during this fiscal year,” he stated.

These projects include restoration and repurposing of unused assets for income generation.


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