St. Thomas Being Positioned as the Next Frontier for Tourism Development in Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica – The parish of St. Thomas is set to experience a rapid transformation of its tourism product with the surge of new developments on the way. Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett reinforced this while addressing residents in Hillside during the recently concluded island-wide Destination Assurance tour.

Minister Bartlett stressed that once key pieces of infrastructure like the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) and the new Morant Bay Urban Centre are in place, investments will begin to flow into the eastern parish.

Hon. Edmund Bartlett in St Thomas, Jamaica at Reggae Falls
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (3rd left) talks tourism development with residents in Hillside, St. Thomas as the majestic Reggae Falls flows in the background. Minister Bartlett is joined by Permanent Secretary in the Tourism Ministry, Jennifer Grifith (left), Member of Parliament for West St. Thomas, James Robertson (3rd right), Member of Parliament for East St. Thomas, Dr. Michelle Charles (2nd left), Destination Assurance Manager for Portland & St. Thomas, Kishan Bailey (right) and Reggae Falls CEO Antonio Porter (2nd right).

“The St. Thomas and Portland corridor is the new exciting frontier for tourism development in Jamaica. The effect of the highway both to connect Kingston to St. Thomas as well as to connect St. Thomas to east Portland is going to be the game-changer for providing high-end tourism offerings in the area. We’re already seeing interest and action from locals coming in with their strong investment dollars to look at real estate development, and we’re excited about that,” asserted the tourism minister.

At the same time, Minister Bartlett encouraged Jamaican investors to start brainstorming ideas for St. Thomas and emphasized that he wishes to see a locally driven transformation effort that creates experiences for the people of Jamaica first, which are then shared with the rest of the world.

Reggae Falls

In discussing the natural assets that make St. Thomas attractive, Minister Bartlett noted, “Reggae Falls excites us. Even though it is not a natural fall in the sense of what the geophysical features endowed us with, it still has the essence of what a really lovely fall is all about. What is also unique about it is the river. We have two rivers that meet in the area, and with it, we could do a riverine experience along with the falls.”

The tourism minister underscored that the site visit was investigative and aimed at more closely understanding the asset so that the Ministry could better formulate a plan that incorporates all the necessary players as well as the community in building a product that is enjoyed by local and international visitors.

Additionally, Minister Bartlett visited the Bath Fountain Hotel, which he said would undergo further development shortly. The tourism minister also indicated that he would be returning to St. Thomas in July for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly rehabilitated road leading to the hotel, which was financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and executed by the National Works Agency (NWA).


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