KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has emphasised the important role the literary and creative arts play in driving the success of Jamaica’s tourism sector.
Highlighting Kingston’s emerging status as a cultural powerhouse regionally, Bartlett also indicated his ministry’s commitment to continue supporting the growth of the local creative industry. He was addressing the 2023 Jamaica Poetry Festival at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre in St Andrew on Sunday.
“Tourism is a confluence of moving parts, and our culture, food, music, art and poetry are critical to its overall success. The creative arts and tourism work hand in hand to give visitors unforgettable experiences and keep them coming back,” Bartlett said. “As a result, the tourism ministry is serious about uplifting our creative, and through the Tourism Enhancement Fund and its Linkages Network, we have dedicated initiatives to doing just that.”
The festival was again sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), event partners for the last two productions. The 13th staging was dubbed the “Arts in Action Edition” and honoured two legendary Jamaicans who contributed significantly to the global recognition of Jamaican art and culture, Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett-Coverley and Harry Belafonte, as well as renowned Lebanese American writer, Khalil Gibran.
In addition to speaking on the harmonisation of the creative arts and tourism, Bartlett also read an excerpt from his 2022 book “Tourism Resilience and Recovery for Global Sustainability and Development: Navigating COVID-19 and the Future”.
The tourism minister also performed an original poem entitled “Tourism’s Call, Resilience Siren Song” which explored themes such as the pandemic, adaptability and recovery.
“I am delighted to be at festivals like these because it gives us a statement to make. I want you to know that you are part of a global market that is now US$5 billion strong – art, culture and music. The projection for the next 15 years is that it will get to US$22 billion. My job is to try to bring you into that mix and enable Jamaica to get a piece of that action,” declared Bartlett.
This year’s line-up included performances from several notable Jamaicans – Professor Edward Baugh, Jean Lowrie-Chin, Professor Clinton Hutton, Boris Gardiner, Dr Winsome Miller-Rowe and event organiser Yasus Afari, among others.
A portion of the proceeds earned will be donated to the Jamaica Society for the Blind to help bolster its programmes and services tailored to improving the well-being of visually impaired Jamaicans.