Wray & Nephew investment a massive boost for South Coast tourismSunday, November 13, 2016
Jamaica’s biggest and most iconic rum company, J Wray & Nephew Ltd, is showing its commitment to the future of tourism, with a US$10-million investment to upgrade and renovate the Appleton Estate Visitor Centre in Siloah, St Elizabeth.
The investment by J Wray & Nephew Limited is expected to not only create additional employment and attract more visitors to the island, but will also, according to its Chairman Clement "Jimmy" Lawrence, be "one of the largest tourist attractions on the south coast".
"J Wray & Nephew Limited is excited about the future of our iconic Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum brand that is inextricably linked to the story of Jamaica," Lawrence pointed out.
"It is this confidence in the quality of our product and the power of Brand Jamaica that has motivated us and our parent company, Gruppo Campari, to make this kind of investment in the upgrade and renovation of this world- class and one of a kind tourism facility. Gruppo Campari truly embodies the meaning of a good corporate citizen and continues to invest in Jamaica."
The work, he said, will include the renovation of the existing property and surrounding landscape, the addition of modern rooms to facilitate the tasting of rum, an expansive retail store, and a restaurant and lounge, offering Appleton-infused Jamaica cuisine.
"The centrepiece of the restaurant will be an authentic Jamaican jerk pit," Lawrence beamed. "There will also be an impressive, state-of-the-art bar, featuring both classic and modern rum cocktails."
Lawrence further stated that the company wants to ensure there are associated benefits from the project to residents of Siloah and neighbouring communities and also that tourism on the south coast will be greatly enhanced.
"Today, the Appleton Estate Rum Tour hosts approximately 50,000 visitors who make the trip via buses and private cars," he revealed.
He noted that the renovated Appleton Estate Rum Tour will provide additional employment opportunities for Jamaicans living in the rural communities along the train route from Montego Bay to the Appleton Estate, in the form of food, beverage and craft services.
"In this regard, J Wray & Nephew Limited has incorporated a market into the redesign to facilitate community members to sell local, handmade craft as a feature of the upgraded Visitor Centre," Lawrence further informed.
"The new Appleton experience will see over 100,000 visitors touring the Appleton Estate in the Nassau Valley, St Elizabeth. The visitors will experience Appleton Estate’s history and have a first-hand view of the development of rum, from cane to cup. This will include a variety of tasting opportunities, including the sampling of limited-production aged rums, a premium, rum-tasting master class and culinary pairings."
Lawrence said that with the train expected to be reintroduced after 2017, the experience will be expanded to include the Appleton Estate Railway carriage — a complement to the Appleton Estate Rum Tour.
The Appleton Estate Rum Tour, Lawrence noted, will also serve as a gateway to the south coast, enabling tourists to see and experience more of the hinterlands of Jamaica.
J Wray & Nephew Limited, a subsidiary of Gruppo Campari, is the oldest company in Jamaica and one of the largest exporters in the Caribbean, with its products shipped to over 60 countries around the world. Its principal operations include the cultivation of sugar cane, the manufacture of sugar, and the distillation and aging of rum and other spirits.
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