TEF transforming resort areas
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) continues to work assiduously in transforming and redeveloping the country’s resort areas as a means of strengthening the tourism industry and enhancing brand Jamaica.
Approximately J$200 million is allotted annually towards the general beautification and upkeep of the resort towns and surrounding areas with separate amounts allocated towards major transformation projects in the main resorts of Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Falmouth.
“We are currently focusing on transformation projects and these are projects which create the greatest impact, given the environment within which we operate and will create the greatest impression on us locals and also visitors to the island,” Director of Projects at the TEF, Christopher Miller tells JIS News.
He adds that these projects are at various stages of development and implementation.
Giving updates on the various projects, Miller informs that the resort town of Ocho Rios is now undergoing major transformation through the phased implementation of an enhancement project, which includes the full upgrading of the cruise ship terminal and the parking area and major reconstruction of the Turtle River Road, between the pier and Main Street.
“We are significantly under way with this one (project) and partnering with the UDC, Port Authority of Jamaica and other Government entities that are working with us to plan and implement the overall project. We have committed so far US$3 million to that programme and have implemented several components of it in Ocho Rios,” Miller outlines.
“We have also improved the Turtle River road which directly connects the cruise ship terminal and the main street and so, that promenade leading into the town is now like a garden with a lot of palm trees, seating, and (this) creates a welcoming atmosphere to both locals and visitors,” he notes.
He adds that there are other projects in the pipeline for that resort including the upgrading of the main street which is currently in advanced stage of planning with the procurement process to commence soon.
There will also be the creation of a beach promenade which will run from the seaside along the Ocho Rios craft market.
Major work in Montego Bay includes the beautification of the elegant corridor; installation of traffic signals and lights.
The ‘lighting of the elegant corridor’ project is estimated at close to J$250 million and entails the installation of energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lamps along a segment of the North Coast Highway from the Sangster International Airport roundabout to the Iberostar Hotel at Lilliput.
The director of projects informs that extensive work in Falmouth, Trelawny, will be geared towards the total beautification and rehabilitation of the resort town.
The J$900 million undertaking involves – the Hampden Wharf Development, estimated to cost J$585 million; and the Falmouth Streetscape Improvement Project, budgeted for J$330 million.
The scope of work includes aesthetic and structural improvement to roads and lanes in the vicinity of Water Square in the town; work on the drainage system, and resurfacing areas, in order to enhance the ambiance in the town.
He adds that the Hampden Wharf Development project will see historical buildings in the vicinity of the wharf being converted for commercial use, with walkways built, allowing smoother traffic flow from the wharf through the current cruise ship pier into the streets.
“We are geared towards inclusiveness and so, our further intervention in Falmouth seeks to bring the locals and visitors together and by transforming the Hampden Wharf and the cruise ship pier, it is intended to allow for greater interaction,” Miller explains.
A suite of projects is planned for Negril including the development of the Norman Manley Beach Park; total transformation of the community centre situated in the resort, into a cultural centre; rehabilitation work at the craft market, the fishing village and along the Savanna-la-mar to Negril roadway.
“We should run the length of Norman Manley Boulevard by creating a dual pathway for walking and riding with the proper ambiance, lighting and landscaping,” the Director of Projects highlights adding that this project is currently in its second phase of implementation.
In terms of the South Coast resort, the TEF has financed rehabilitation work at the Milk River Bath in Clarendon and beautification of major parks in Black River and Mandeville.
The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has expended billions of dollars on tourism projects since it began operations ten years ago on May 1, 2005, in fulfilling its mandate of promoting growth and development in the tourism sector.
The Tourism Enhancement Act allows for a Tourism Enhancement Fee of US$20 to be charged to incoming airline passengers and US$2 to be charged to cruise passengers. The monies collected are paid into a dedicated Tourism Enhancement Fund.