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KINGSTON, Jamaica; November 6, 2017: In recognition of its 25th anniversary and pointing to its contribution to the increasing diversification of Jamaica’s tourism product, Delano Seiveright, Senior Advisor/Strategist to Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, highlighted that the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Tourism and its lead agency the Jamaica Tourist Board, will continue to support Rebel Salute, a major annual Rastafari-influenced live music show held in January along the North Coast.
Seiveright was guest speaker at the official launch of Rebel Salute’s 25th show in New York City Thursday evening, on behalf of the Tourism Minister, who is in London of official business. Patrick ‘Tony Rebel’ Barrett, Director of Rebel Salute noted that Rebel Salute delivers the greatest roots reggae show in the world.
Starting out as a concert to celebrate Tony Rebel’s birthday, Rebel Salute has evolved into a major calendar stage show, capturing roots reggae lovers worldwide. The festival serves a strict Rastafari-influenced menu and is notably a non-alcoholic event drawing thousands of patrons at each staging.
Seiveright pointed out that, “Rebel Salute continues to draw Jamaicans and tourists alike in one place to celebrate reggae music in one place. Rastafari and reggae music are the backbone of Jamaican culture, the backbone of our tourism product. Tourism is in strong growth mode and more and more visitors want varied experiences and to ensure that that growth is sustained we need more events like Rebel Salute.”
He went on to state that, “One of our main strategies for achieving sustainable tourism is by promoting the sector as a catalyst for cultural preservation and enrichment. Recent international tourism trends have pointed to a shift from the traditional 'sun, sea and sand' phenomenon towards interactive experiential tourism, one of tourism's fastest growing sub-sectors, appealing to markets interested in gastronomy, nature, heritage and cultural experiences like Rebel Salute.”
Preliminary figures up to the end of September 2017 shows Jamaica welcoming over 3 million tourists, with stopover arrivals of 1.76 million and cruise passengers numbering 1.3 million cruise passengers, well ahead of the corresponding period last year. This resulted in just over US$2.14 billion in gross foreign exchange earnings, 8.6 percent higher the corresponding period last year.
Credit has been given the Bartlett led aggressive growth initiatives – with significant focus on increased airlift, rebuilding the Canadian market, boosting numbers out of Western Europe, closer collaboration with cruise operators, the building out of new rooms, enhancing relationships with non-traditional players like Airbnb and driving the development of the linkages network in part aimed at enhancing product offerings and experiences.
“Minister Bartlett wants to ensure that tourists visiting Jamaica will not only get an opportunity to partake in local culture and heritage but will also develop a profound appreciation and respect for it. Many ordinary citizens will also benefit as they will get increased opportunities to showcase and market their cultural and creative products and services to visitors,” said Seiveright
He indicated that the impact of promoting cultural tourism will not only be economic but also have a social impact. He noted that Bartlett, through the Entertainment Network of his Ministry’s Linkages Network and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange are at one on pushing harder in this direction with the full collaboration with people like Tony Rebel and events like Rebel Salute.
Seiveright also stated the Linkages Network in the Ministry of Tourism, chaired by Businessman Adam Stewart, is generating unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sectors and contributing to the enhanced appeal and sustainable growth of Jamaica’s tourism sector.
Rebel Salute takes place on January 12 and 13 at the Richmond Estate in Priory, St. Ann.