The parish of St. Mary has been earmarked by Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett as another potential area for sustainable tourism development under the reimaging exercise. Rich in cultural history ranging from Jamaica’s Taino and Maroon heritage, St. Mary also offers several elements that can be used to develop the area into a mini destination.
Speaking at a tour of the parish on the weekend, Minister Bartlett said, ‘As part of our commitment to reimagine destination Jamaica, we are committed to building out new experiences east of Oracabessa towards Port Antonio.
The purpose of the tour has been to take a hard look at Robin’s Bay, Golden Eye, beaches and rivers, and all the public assets in St. Mary, to determine the potential of the area to become a lifestyle tourism destination.”
The technical team from the Ministry and various agencies, led by Permanent Secretary Mrs. Jennifer Griffiths, took part in the tour as part of the initial assessment of the area.
“What we envisage for this side of the island is of course low density and low carbon foot prints to ensure minimal impact on the environment. We also want to look at the higher demographic in terms of the ability to attract higher average daily rates within this area.
We think that Port Antonio would be the big center for lifestyle tourism with strong eco-tourism values, which can go all the way to Oracabessa.”
The reimaging exercise began earlier this year under the instructions of Minister Bartlett. Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Jennifer Griffith, who leads the team, began carving out a destination development plan for Negril. Other areas that will be included are St. Thomas, Clarendon, Port Antonio and most recently St. Mary.
“The area has huge geophysical assets in terms of its beaches, waterfalls and rivers that can definitely be converted into tremendous experiences for tourism and the time is now for us to capitalize on this potential,” concluded Minister Bartlett.