Regional

Tourism boost set for Falmouth

BY HORACE HINES
STAFF REPORTER
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 18, 2018

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny— Hotel room stock in Trelawny is projected to grow by 12,000 in the next three years, which places the parish on track to boast the most hotel rooms in the region, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

“Trelawny will have 12,000 new rooms by 2021 and so what we are doing, we are building out the capacity of the people of Falmouth to respond to the demand that 12,000 new rooms is going to bring in the area. I had a discussion last (Thursday) night where I signed off on 8,000 rooms for Trelawny,” Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer.

In the meantime, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for water, works and housing, Dr Horace Chang, added that Trelawny, which is blessed with “fabulous beaches on the coastlines and extensive land space on the north side of the highway” will definitely be “the next big north coast development, without any doubt.

“I know that the Ministry of Tourism, in promoting the industry, north Trelawny coastline is the next great frontier for development and may very well have far more rooms than they have in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay in a short time,” Dr Chang revealed.

But Dr Chang argued that increased hotel room stock will drive the demand for residential spaces, therefore “Government is planning for when this comes we don't end up with an unnecessary overcrowding and informal settlement swamping the place.

“What that (increased hotel rooms) means, you need thousands of people working in Trelawny and we cannot allow ourselves to be caught flat-footed again and we end up with squatter communities spreading across the land or housing being developed in an arbitrary way,” Dr Chang stated.

“We will be looking now at what is required to design and ensure that Falmouth can grow in an orderly manner.”

Both Cabinet members were speaking to the Sunday Observer following the historic ground-breaking ceremony of the US$5.7-million Hampden Wharf development in Falmouth, which is the first of five artisan villages to be established across the island.

The mega Hampden Wharf development, to be funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, includes the establishment of the artisan village that will accommodate 47 shops, including five restaurants and bars all specially themed; 12 mini stalls, 18 artisan shops, 12 major shops, to sprawl on 1.6 hectares of the land owned by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ). The project is expected to be completed in a year's time.

The tourism minister was elated that ground was broken for the first five artisan villages to be established across the island.

“I am excited about this prospect. There are four more such artisan villages to be established across Jamaica in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Port Antonio and Negril,” Bartlett noted.

His Cabinet colleague, Dr Chang described the ground-breaking as a signature event for the town of Falmouth.

In the meantime, PAJ CEO Professor Gordon Shirley said, “I think it will be transformative for the Falmouth.

“It is going to be something quite unlike anything else in the Caribbean. We have seen quite interesting projects across the Caribbean, some of them relatively new. We think that this historic spin, coupled with the use of modern technology throughout, makes it nonetheless efficient in its operation. It is going to be something unique,” Professor Shirley argued.

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