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Kingston, Jamaica. October 23, 2017: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that his Ministry is positioning the historic town of Falmouth to attract more heritage visitors, who spend more and stay longer than the average visitor.
“Falmouth’s rich history, Georgian architecture and many attractions make it a major tourism asset that we can leveraged to increase the number of heritage visitors to our shores,” said Minister Bartlett at the launch of the Falmouth Heritage Expo, held last week in Water Square, Trelawny. “For this reason, the Government will be leveraging the heritage experience in Falmouth to further develop the town as a tourism destination.’
According to Minister Bartlett, heritage visitors spend 38 per cent more per day and stay 34 per cent longer than traditional tourists.
He indicated that his Ministry was collaborating with the Organization of American States (OAS), under the auspices of the Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas (SDAA) initiative, to reposition Falmouth as a Sustainable Tourism Destination. Under this Initiative, which started in 2015, a programme of activities is being implemented to improve civic pride in Falmouth, as well as foster cultural and economic innovation. These activities include the Falmouth Invasion – an event held in February to boost pride in Falmouth – and the Falmouth Heritage Expo.
The expo featured cultural performances, story-telling, art and craft displays and information on Falmouth’s Georgian architecture. The day saw a constant stream of visitors, residents and students participating in the activities.
An updated map of the Heritage sites of Jamaica was also launched by Dr Andrew Spencer, Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO). The map, a comprehensive illustration of cultural and natural heritage sites across the island, is intended to serve as a guide to both visitors and locals who wish to educate themselves about the heritage assets in Jamaica and to locate sites for recreational purposes.
In his remarks to the audience at the expo, Bartlett explained that Falmouth was already living up to its potential – especially if one used the cruise ship calls as an indicator.
“For the month of August, cruise passenger arrivals grew by 9.4% with 109,074 passengers from 29 cruise ships. The Port of Falmouth was up 5.4% with 48,910 passengers,” he said while adding that the three largest cruise ships in the world – Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Sea – continued to make regular calls at the port.
“We are building out the town and port infrastructure, as well as the visitor experience so when the cruise ships dock there are good reasons for visitors to disembark,” he said. “Working in collaboration with local stakeholders and government agencies, we are relocating vendors to more strategic sites; painting buildings; taking the mentally ill and homeless off the streets; establishing visitor centres and increasing the number of district constables in the town to help keep crime in check,” he added.
He indicated that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has already spent $190 million on completed projects in Falmouth, including: the renovation of the Trelawny Parish Church, the Falmouth Post Office and Court House. Another $1.1 billion has been earmarked for projects in Falmouth including the Artisan Village at the old Hampden Wharf.
His announcement was supported by Dr. Spencer, who indicated that TPDCO was pushing efforts at the community level to ensure that the communities are marketable. “Only recently we completed a toolkit for Community Tourism Development and we are working with several community groups to ensure that their product is market ready,” he said.