TALKING POINTS BY MINISTER OF TOURISM, THE HON. EDMUND BARTLETT AT THE GRAND OPENING OF USAIN BOLT’S TRACKS & RECORDS OCHO RIOS NEW PINEAPPLE SHOPPING CENTRE, ST. ANN WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016
Submitted by admin on Sun, 12/04/2016 - 14:44
I am delighted to be here this evening to participate in the Grand Opening of Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records Ocho Rios – the first franchise of this extremely popular sports-themed restaurant and bar.
Wisely the restaurant concept was developed to capitalise on the global appeal and affinity for Brand Jamaica and to celebrate the legendary success of “the fastest man alive”.
When two iconic brands come together great things happen and the success of Tracks & Records' flagship location in Kingston is proof that this is a winning combination.
There is no doubt that this establishment is a welcome addition to Ocho Rios. In addition to contributing to the resort town’s economy by employing some 35-40 persons, it also significantly diversifies the product offerings available to both locals and visitors.
Tracks & Records is not your typical restaurant and sports bar. The unique decor, the Caribbean fusion cuisine and the affiliation with the greatest track and field athlete of all time, make it both a great dining experience and a unique attraction. I expect this gathering spot to become a popular landmark in Ocho Rios.
Ocho Rios franchise owners Joshua and Marsha Jhamnani are no strangers to the hospitality industry. I am pleased to hear that they are targeting the cruise ship and hotel industry, with primary focus on the many thousands of passengers from the Falmouth and Ocho Rios piers and visitors from north coast hotels.
Food is an important dimension of tourism. More and more people are travelling to experience the ‘food culture’ of other destinations, whether it is local restaurants and bars, farms and markets or vineyards and breweries.
Globally, gastronomy tourism has grown into a US$150 billion industry, according to data from the World Food and Travel Association.
Here, at home, our outstanding food experiences are among the top three reasons why persons visit Jamaica.
My Ministry is taking strategic steps to strengthen Jamaica’s competitiveness in Gastronomy Tourism as we reposition and diversify our product to generate higher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings.
Among the strategies we will be employing are:
Creating a gastronomy mapping platform with easily accessible information on the island’s best food offerings and where they can be found.
Collaborating with tourism partners to boost the number of quality food festivals.
Working with tour operators to develop enticing food tours across the length and breadth of the island.
Integrate food experiences with existing flagship events.
I believe these efforts will help to position Jamaica as a first-class tourist and gastronomic destination, and will give the visitors good reason to spend while they are here. In this way we will drive revenue earnings while we continue our efforts at increasing visitor arrivals.
Given the strength of Brand Jamaica and our rich and diverse cuisine there is no limit to the success we can achieve if tourism and gastronomy stakeholders come together.
In closing, I congratulate Usain Bolt, the Jhamnanis and the KLE Group on this new venture and wish you great success.
Thank you too for the opportunity to celebrate with you on this important occasion.