TRELAWNY, Jamaica – – Jamaica’s new minister of tourism and entertainment Dr. Wykeham McNeil has earmarked the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival – The Art of Music as a key fixture on the annual travel and tourism calendar.
“A lot of time (when) you go and talk to travel agents and tour operators, they ask you ‘what happens in Jamaica?’ One of the things that comes to mind is the Jazz Festival,” Dr. McNeil told reporters at the 2012 Caribbean Marketplace travel convention at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island this week.
Describing the festival, which opened yesterday (Thursday, January 26), as a magnet drawing Jamaicans overseas and their friends, the minister opined “Jamaica could benefit from more events such as this,” especially during the trough periods.
New York-based radio host Irwine Clare said Jamaican-Americans had been keenly counting down to the festival which is being held at Trelawny Stadium and features international superstar Celine Dion.
“Jamaicans in the Diaspora look forward to the jazz festival as a yearly vigil, not only for its musical content but to renew friendships and partake in Jamaica’s world class hospitality,” Clare said.
Himself Jamaican, Clare, the managing director of Caribbean Immigrant Services, also recognized the festival for its significant boost and “economic stimulus” to the local economy.