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Portland's tourism gets a boost

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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The Alligator Head Foundation recently partnered with the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to expand the tourism product offering in the parish of Portland to include diving, snorkelling, boat rides in the harbour, and glass-bottom boat tours.

The initiative, which costs close to $19 million, will significantly boost the economic marine livelihood in the Oyster Bay area of Anchovy.

Keynote speaker at the official launch, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlet, reported that the project has seen the construction of a floating dock, acquisition of office equipment to support administrative functions of the dive operation, purchase of a patrol boat and a glass-bottom boat, a Special Fisheries Conservation Area, among other things. He commended the Alligator Head Foundation for the “fantastic job” they have been doing to help safeguard the country's fish population and the environment in general.

Francesca Von Habsburg, founder of Alligator Head Foundation, shared that her organisation, which focuses on science and environmental preservation, is extremely proud of the efforts to conserve physical and biological marine resources and ecosystem functions in Portland. She cited the 16 fish sanctuaries; the marine laboratory through partnership with the University of the West Indies; the 11 turtle nests which are now protected in Portland waters; and now the offering of diving, snorkeling, kayaking, boat rides in the harbour and glass-bottom boat tours for local and international tourists are critical support systems.

People's National Party caretaker aspirant for Portland Eastern Andrea Moore opined that Portland boasts the widest variety of tourist attractions in Jamaica, and these include the two waterfalls — Reach Falls and Somerset Falls — as well as the Non Such Caves.

Moore, an attorney-at-law, reiterated that the parish welcomes the enhancements and reminded the audience that Portland is the pearl in paradise Jamaica, and destination Portland is open for business, so all stakeholders must stay on board to ensure economic viability of this project.

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