Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Jennifer Griffith says Falmouth, in Trelawny, is set to take its rightful place as one of Jamaica’s major resort areas.
Falmouth is not currently listed as a resort town on the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) website and is often packaged and marketed as being part of the tourism offerings of Montego Bay. The other resort areas listed on the website are Ocho Rios, Negril, Port Antonio, Kingston and the south coast.
Griffith, following a tour of the artisan village construction site at the old Hampden Wharf in Falmouth, said that it is against this background that the Tourism Ministry will be marketing the Trelawny capital “in its own unique way” and independent of neighbouring Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
“Falmouth currently lacks what you would call identity branding. The hotels and attractions that are in Falmouth are marketed or are perceived to be in Montego Bay, while those that are closer to St. Ann are being identified with the resort town of Ocho Rios. Now that is about to change,” she said in an interview with JIS News on Wednesday (Feb. 5).
She further noted that Falmouth, famous for its Georgian-style architecture and historic buildings, has been holding its own, so much so that it is once again being hailed as a centre of major economic activity.
Griffith cited world-class attractions such as Chukka Good Hope and Martha Brae rafting, in addition to hotels that are coming on stream, as indicative of a town which “has been transformed into a first-choice destination”.
“Falmouth has truly turned the corner where it now deserves its own branding and where it can finally free itself from the shackles of its more celebrated neighbours – Negril, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay,” the Tourism Permanent Secretary said.
“Not only does it have some great attractions but it also boasts Excellence Oyster Bay, Ocean Coral Spring, Royalton, and Melia Braco, some of the best hotels in the country and, of course, the biggest and most attractive port in the Caribbean in the form of the Falmouth Pier,” she added.
For his part, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, argued that Falmouth has a kind of economic and historic value that not too many places in the region have.
He added that the transformation from a parish that was once dominated by agriculture to what is now a very vibrant tourism sector, is nothing short of remarkable.
“What is also unique about this town is that it nestles neatly between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, and which also makes it ripe for housing development,” the minister pointed out.
Bartlett said it should also be remembered that Falmouth was once the epicentre of economic activity and was arguably the most popular shopping destination on the island’s northern coast.
He added that with what can now accurately be dubbed as “the dawn of a new era” in the town, the people of Falmouth and, by extension, the entire parish of Trelawny “will now have a lot of reasons to smile”.
“Residents and stakeholders can now take pride in that their patience and resilience are now being rewarded,” the minister said.
Bartlett argued that things will only get better for the parish, noting that in the pipeline are some 6,000 hotel rooms along the tourism corridor from Rio Bueno to Falmouth.