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Kingston, Jamaica: May 27, 2015 – The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has expended billions of dollars on tourism projects since it began operations ten years ago on May 1, 2005, in fulfilling its mandate of promoting growth and development in the tourism sector.
The Tourism Enhancement Act allows for a Tourism Enhancement Fee of US$20.00 to be charged to incoming airline passengers and US$2.00 to be charged to cruise passengers. The monies collected are paid into a dedicated Tourism Enhancement Fund.
“As our arrival figures have grown so too has the amount available for the operation of the TEF,” said Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, “allowing us to do more and more meaningful and costly projects which would not have been possible without the Fund. The tenth anniversary is a significant landmark for one of the most game-changing developments in our industry. The management and staff of the Fund are to be heartily congratulated for their record of achievement in fulfilling TEF’s mandate.”
Chairman of the Board of Directors of TEF since 2012, Senator Noel Sloley, expressed his satisfaction with the transformational projects carried out by TEF. In the area of national heritage projects he cited the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in Sam Sharpe Square with its National museum of Jamaica West and auditorium for live performances, carried out at a cost of J$62.5. Another major heritage project was the refurbishing of the birthplace of the Rt. Excellent Norman Manley and establishment of the Roxborough Museum at a cost of J$42.6 million.
He also cited projects such as the Ocho Rios Upgrading Project done at a cost of J$345 million; the J$270 million streetscape project now underway in Falmouth, which will see upgrades of roads, drains and facades in the town; and the planned transformation of the town of Negril and its town centre.
“These are just a few of the projects which directly benefit Jamaicans while fulfilling TEF’s primary mandate to carry out recommendations emanating from the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development, 2002,” Senator Sloley stated. “It could not have come at a better time as we are able to upgrade our resort areas and have repeatedly heard return visitors express pleasure at seeing the visible improvements to our product.”
Executive Director of TEF since 2012, Clyde Harrison said that the work of TEF is challenging but most fulfilling as the organization has been able to see not only completion of a number of major projects but also smaller ones.
He cited some other TEF projects, including funding for development and better management of environmental resources in Jamaica, enhancing the country’s overall tourist experience, and providing for the sustainable development of the tourism sector.
“Among these projects are the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust and the Clean Coasts Project, which is funded by TEF in partnership with the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET). This is making a big difference and its current “Nuh Dutty Up” Jamaica campaign is another worthwhile effort as we seek to educate the public as to the consequences of their actions in degrading the environment,” Mr. Harrison said.
“Some of the smaller projects," he said, “make a real difference to people in small communities. An example is our support for the Centres of Excellence Programme for high schools in the resort areas. TEF provides support to these schools by contributing equipment for programmes that train students in skills that are very marketable in the tourism sector. They leave these programmes ready to work and support themselves and contribute to the economy of their communities. What is equally satisfying,” he continued “is how their achievements in these programmes builds their self-esteem. This is a priceless gift.”
Another very important aspect of TEF’s work is their support for security. In the last year or so, TEF has provided funding to the JCF for the repair and purchase of motor vehicles at a cost of J$225 million; and engines to make functional marine vessels for the marine police at a cost of J$15.5 million.
Two very popular TEF projects are the Public Beach Upgrade Programme at a cost of J$250 million and the National Rest Stop Programme at a cost of J$69 million. These programmes are underway in parishes across the island. The beaches programme is providing state of the art facilities and free access to public beaches. TEF’s upgrading of Rest Stops across the length and breadth of the island is making road travel a much more pleasant experience for Jamaicans and visitors alike. Mr. Harrison also paid tribute to the many organizations and entities which work along with TEF in carrying out the projects they Fund, including sister agency the Tourism Product Development Agency (TPDCO), National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Urban Development Corporation and the National Works Agency, among many others.