Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has vowed to continue his support of the Jamaica Rum Festival (JRF), which is now in its second year.
At the event launch at Devon House on Wednesday, Bartlett said that his ministry and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) have pooled $6 million to ensure this year’s staging happens.
“We want the Jamaica Rum Festival to be a product, not an event, and so from this day forth, all the infrastructure required to make this festival an event will be put in place with the support of the ministry to make sure that every year we can go to the market and package this festival with rooms and with seats, and bring the visitors to Jamaica and consume this critical asset that is from the heart and the soul of the Jamaican people,” he said.
The government contributed $10 million to the festival’s inaugural staging, and Bartlett pinned its unwavering support to the festival’s gastronomy-centred initiative.
“We want the Jamaica Rum Festival to be a product, not an event.”— Bartlett
“It is bringing together much of what we’ve been trying to do over the last three and a half years in particular, and that is to refine the product, to enhance the experience and to utilise our indigenous cultural assets to enable a combination and a final delivery of an opinionated experience that the world will always come to Jamaica to have,” Bartlett said.
Executive director of TEF, Dr Carey Wallace, said it was a no-brainer to support the event for its second instalment, and he likened the tourist appeal of Jamaican rum to reggae music.
“We see reggae as a very crucial component of destination Jamaica, of brand Jamaica, and we have Reggae Sumfest as an iconic annual event,” he said. “Similarly, we see this rum festival as an iconic event that will represent this outstanding brand that we have here in Jamaica and so I endorse it wholeheartedly.”
See highlights from the Jamaica Rum Festival launch in the gallery below.
The evening saw the transformation of the Devon House East Lawn to a miniature version of the tropical-themed festival, including a rum barrel-inspired entry tunnel, a myriad of rum brands, a 360 bar and sugarcane accented decor, balanced by the dulcet sounds of singer DBurnz, who was well-received for his set comprising Jamaican music spanning different eras.
The JRF will be held on February 29 and March 1 at Hope Gardens in St Andrew from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.