Bartlett: Jamaica Rum Festival adds value to tourismSunday, February 14, 2021
The Jamaica Rum Festival (JRF), now in its third year, has been described as an educational undertaking that adds enormous value to the tourism industry.
That's the assessment by the Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, who has restated the commitment of his ministry to the event, in which the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) are flagship sponsorship partners.
Building on the growing loyal patronage it has built over the past two years of its staging, the JRF will return for its third edition with a virtual festival being hosted on March 27, 2021 via the festival's website http://www.jarumfestival.com.
Delivering the feature address at the digital launch of JRF 2021: The Virtual Edition via the festival's website last Thursday, February 11, Minister Bartlett said the Jamaica Rum Festival packages Jamaica's centuries-old rum history in a grand showcase.
“It is educational, it is fun, and it adds enormous value to the tourism industry. My ministry, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Jamaica Tourist Board, is pleased to be a flagship partner for this event,” the minister declared.
He noted that the virtual staging of the event exemplified the innovation, creativity and boldness for which Jamaican business enterprises are known.
“I am truly encouraged by what I see on the local business front amid the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. As a new reality sinks in, companies, both big and small, are shifting to new ways of doing business,” the tourism minister pointed out. He added that: “As Jamaicans, we are resilient and innovative. We know how to 'tun our han' mek fashion' in turbulent times, and this pandemic is proving to be no exception.”
Noting that the new normal will not include mass gatherings anytime soon, he commended presenting sponsor J Wray & Nephew Limited and its rum partners Appleton Estate, Monymusk, Hampden Estates, and Worthy Park Estate for understanding that the show must go on despite physical restrictions and social distancing protocols.
“In the current 'pivot or perish' environment, businesses, conferences and entertainment events are turning to virtual delivery methods to preserve revenue streams, and with great success. This proactive approach is good for business and good for Jamaica too. Each time we launch a major event, albeit virtually, it is a shot in the arm for economic recovery,” stated Bartlett.
He pointed out that by pivoting to the digital space, JRF was sharing Jamaica's excellence in rum, food, art, and music with a larger global audience of rum enthusiasts, producers and industry professionals. Many overseas patrons watching online, he said, will be enticed to visit Jamaica as soon as possible for a taste of the country's rum culture.
“This online festival experience is a great tool for promoting our rum brands and Brand Jamaica,” Bartlett said.
He explained that globally, rum tourism is on the rise as a growing number of travellers make distilleries and rum festivals central to their holiday itineraries. With Jamaica's excellent rum product that includes premium brands and historic distilleries, the tourism minister observed, the country was ideally poised to take greater advantage of this trend, thus allowing for the generation of higher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings.
Noting that he was eagerly anticipating the virtual rum tours and exhibits, interactive seminars and live entertainment, Bartlett pointed to the positive storied history of Jamaica's rum culture. “Our rum, like our reggae music, is an integral part of Jamaica's history and tells the rich story of who we are and where we come from. Everyone loves a good story and the rum festival allows us to share ours,” he said.
This was also captured in the message from presenting partner Appleton Estate on the role rum plays in the tourism industry.
“It is clear that our locally produced rums hold a place of pride among Jamaicans and form part of our island's lure as a tourism destination. Jamaica has evolved beyond sun, sand and sea, as persons seek to forge deeper bonds and gain more from their experience,” said channel & customer marketing director of J Wray & Nephew Limited Leleika-Dee Barnes.
JRF 2021: The Virtual Edition will feature content about Jamaica's rum heritage, interviews and mixology demonstrations. A new festival offering will be “Rum Country”, an educational virtual tour of Jamaica that integrates the “Rediscover Jamaica” campaign of the Jamaica Tourist Board to showcase a unique rum experience.
In-person VIP seminars led by Appleton Estate Jamaica's world-renowned Master Blender Dr Joy Spence and other leading industry blenders will be conducted in the lead up to the JRF go-live on March 27. These will add to the rich cultural content of the festival, creating an enhanced value-added experience for the thousands of virtual patrons expected to log-on. Other live interactive seminars will be conducted online on festival day.
The festival will culminate with an eight-hour virtual musical show in keeping with the JRF tradition of providing top-class family entertainment. The show will feature the best of Jamaica's reggae and dancehall acts headlined by international reggae superstar Shaggy.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login