FALMOUTH, Trelawny – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has set a target date of 2018 for several projects which are on the drawing board to be completed, to transform the Georgian town of Falmouth into a premiere destination in the Caribbean.
To this end the Ministry of Tourism, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has committed more than one billion dollars to execute projects to enhance Falmouth.
Accompanied by stakeholders from the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and local authorities notably, the Trelawny Parish Council and the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, Minister Bartlett recently undertook a tour of development projects being jointly executed in the town.
Also in attendance were representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, TEF and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).
The Minister disclosed that some $190 million has already been spent on completed projects in the town. These include the renovation of the Trelawny Parish Church, the Falmouth Post Office, Falmouth Court House and Water Square.
Other projects now in train are slated for completion by 2018 at an additional cost of $1.1 billion. Foremost among them are the creation of an artisan village at the old Hampden Wharf, which adjoins the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier, to accommodate up to 300 stalls for craft traders. Likewise the projects will entail the restoration of Tharpe House, which is to be developed it into a museum.
Minister Bartlett outlined that, the artisan village will help Falmouth provide what he views as the true port experience “so that the people of Falmouth have a chance to come inside and be a part of the process and not feel that they are fenced out. The commercial development on the port must be for everyone, not only by way of what we want but by way of what we do.”
Additionally, a plan is to be developed to reposition the court house, which also houses the parish council’s administrative offices and the Mayor’s Parlour, while the current street-scaping initiative is to move into another phase.
“We think that by 2018, with the marketing effort that we are going to be making along with the PAJ, we should be getting a higher volume of visitors coming through Falmouth, and the flow-through effect begins to happen because that’s what it is about; the town of Falmouth has got to feel the impact because if you’re not feeling it then we are not doing our job,” said Minister Bartlett.
Mr. Bartlett noted that transformation and innovation are the factors that drive experiences and make the destination come to mind. “The belief that Jamaica is the finest destination in the world forces us to change, to continue to innovate and to continue to renew,” he said.
Making his commitment to that as minister, he underscored that, “we must get the buy-in; I can’t over emphasize that; we must get the buy-in of the full town and the support of the local authorities because that’s what makes tourism happen in communities.”
He stressed that, “it’s not me and the team from Kingston; it’s the local authority that enforces the rules and the regulations which guide the behaviour and conduct and build out the experience that the visitor has when he comes.”
Minister Bartlett issued a strong appeal to citizens to keep the town clean and “stop doing the things on the street that should be done at home.”
The development programme outlined for Falmouth by Minister Bartlett was endorsed by President of the PAJ, Professor Gordon Shirley and Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Garth Wilkinson.