Kingston, Jamaica – The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has made a significant contribution to the preservation of the country’s historical and cultural heritage with an expenditure of over $14 million at the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann.
The disclosure was made by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, at the reopening of the historic exhibition at the Seville Great House, located on the property. “The TEF has provided funding of over $14 million for the complete refurbishing of this historic plantation building which houses the Seville Museum, and has also part-funded the exhibition,” he said.
Minister McNeill pointed to a strong link between culture and tourism, adding that, “tourism and our heritage go hand in hand because it defines us as a people and as a nation. I firmly believe that as global travellers increasingly demand interaction with an authentic Jamaican experience, then it becomes more evident the ways in which we need to develop and showcase our heritage sites as a part of the tourism product.”
He said this underscored the role of the TEF “as a transformational agency to implement projects that can and will transform the landscape of Jamaica.” However, Minister McNeill said, “most importantly these transformational projects must be first and foremost to the benefit of the people of Jamaica.”
To this end, he said,while the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment would seek to implement the policies and strategies that guide and oversee a sector welcoming visitors to our shores, “in addition to this, and perhaps the more critical component, is ensuring that the economic, social and developmental contributions of the sector are duly distributed across the widest possible cross section of our economy.”
This, he noted, was a deliberate effort in keeping with Government’s commitment to the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development which sets out to guide the industry’s development by creating a strategic vision for its growth and development and establishing an enabling environment to help it realize that vision.
Minister McNeill said the parish of St. Ann, noted specifically for its part in Jamaica’s tourism and bauxite industry, occupied a pivotal role in the development plan, and the TEF was playing its part. He commended the Spanish Jamaican Foundation, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the CHASE fund for partnering in the restoration of the exhibition.