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KINGSTON, Jamaica; November 21, 2018: As part of the Ministry of Tourism and its Agencies’ commitment to full transparency, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has ordered a full review of the costs associated with the budgeted amount for the ‘Welcome to Montego Bay’ sign and attraction. Minister Bartlett has instructed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism to conduct the review.
Further, private sector interests in Montego Bay, including some members of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have committed support for the building of the new sign and attraction and will provide financial support amounting to five million dollars (J$5million) for its execution.
With the input of the private sector, government's financial input will be significantly reduced.
The new sign is expected to be an attraction for the millions of visitors as well as locals who traverse that busy thoroughfare. The development also falls within the extension of the Eastern Gateway Project, which is a series of beautification works running west along the Elegant Corridor from Greenwood, to the MBJ Sangster International Airport roundabout.
In explaining the move to provide financial support, prominent businessman John Byles said, “We believe that this welcome sign will be a significant addition to the allure and prestige of the city of Montego Bay. The city represents the heartbeat of tourism and deserves a monument that will be fitting for our guests and locals and as such we are more than willing to help mitigate the costs to erect it.”
Minister Bartlett in welcoming private sector support said, “What this means is that we will not stand the full cost of executing this critical showpiece for the hub of our tourism activities. As I have indicated before, this is more than simply a sign, this will be a conversation piece for years to come.”
The Tourism Product Development Company Ltd (TPDCo) will execute the project with funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). The sign is a tropical contemporary interpretation of a traditional resort along a bay. It has a lighting component where the letters will be illuminated and are changeable to match the seasons. It is not just a concrete wall but a modern façade meant to be a “thing of beauty.”
The area will also be landscaped and an irrigation component has been included to ensure the long term stability of this component. To ensure the safety of road users, visible yield signs are being replaced, other safety features include the installation of speed strips and the refreshing of road markings.