Cheers to that! Tourism Minister wants Rum Festival expanded to MoBay

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, wants the annual Jamaica Rum Festival to be expanded to the tourism Mecca of Montego Bay.

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett (left), shares a toast with Managing Director, J. Wray and Nephew, Jean-Phillipe Beyer (right), on Saturday’s (February 29) opening day of the two-day Jamaica Rum Festival at Hope Gardens in St. Andrew. Sharing the moment is Senior Director, Public Affairs, J. Wray and Nephew, Tanikie McClarthy Allen (centre).

The Minister noted that “festivals are a big part of what brings people to a destination” and as such, he would like to see two events held next year – one in Kingston and the other in Montego Bay.

“Last year was an event; this year it’s a product. This is now a tourism product that we are going to make a part of our marketing arrangements, but we want to build the product a little more and we want to take this product to the mecca of tourism,” he said.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, examines a product from the Ritzy B Natural Skincare line at the Jamaica Rum Festival, while the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shanara Bennett, highlights the benefits. Occasion was a tour of booths on Saturday’s (February 29) opening day of the two-day Jamaica Rum Festival, held at Hope Gardens in St. Andrew.

Minister Bartlett noted that the festival, which is a celebration of rum – the third most consumed liquid on earth after water and coffee – has become a signature event in Jamaica and needs to be marketed to the world.

Tourism Linkages Network

He said that gastronomy is a key part of the linkages network that underpins the growth targets for the tourism sector, aimed at attracting five million visitors by 2021, generating $5 billion in earnings, and increasing total direct jobs to 125,000, while adding 15,000 new hotel rooms.

“We had to build out a number of products and gastronomy represented that first driver of the network. We have to utilise our Jamaican products, build on them and present them as experiences that the visitors can now come and pay for,” Minister Bartlett pointed out.