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MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, Thursday, July 17, 2014: The variety and vibrancy of Jamaica’s cultural expressions are being packaged to promote the destination to worldwide tourism markets as the land of not merely sun, sea, and sand but excellent entertainment.
The innovative summer entertainment programme branded as “Jamrock Summer – 90 Days, 90 Ways” was launched at the picturesque Sandals Royal Caribbean Island in Montego Bay yesterday (July 16) by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, and endorsed by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
Minister of State in the ministry, the Hon. Damion Crawford, said, “entertainment is the aspect of culture that is capable of being sold and we have a culture that is so dominant in so many aspects.” He said the tagline for ‘Jamrock Summer – 90 Days, 90 Ways’ reflected the fact that “Jamaica offers a multiplicity of ways to enjoy the country”. The concept, therefore, is to use entertainment to attract visitors to the island between May 15 and August 15 each year to address the traditional dip in arrivals between the winter and fall seasons.
Minister Crawford said Jamrock Summer will capitalize on all genres of Jamaican cultural expression – ‘90 Days, 90 Ways’ includes parties, music, sports, culinary, literary arts and other events to entice everyone to experience the country in a special way. That is, 90 ways over 90 days, segmented into nine 10-day series of events. These will leverage Jamaica’s entertainment offering and complement existing events such as Sumfest to offer added value.
Minister Crawford also pointed out that “at the macro-level entertainment is an industry with many linkages,” adding that, “if we can have Jamrock Summer drawing 20,000 people in the next five years many other areas of the economy would benefit and develop.” He noted, however, that while government will facilitate the promotion, it was expected that the private sector would play its role as promoter.
He explained that although the initiative will include various types of music festivals, culinary, sports, fashion and other cultural offerings, reggae would be a central cog around which Jamrock Summer is built.
With the worldwide acceptance of Jamaica’s music from ska through reggae and dance hall, Minister Crawford said the success of “Jamrock Summer – 90 Days, 90 Ways” would also offer the added advantage of underscoring the fact that Jamaica is the home of reggae, despite attempts by other countries to present it as if it is their own. “We want to have the largest reggae show; our largest reggae show is ranked 19th in the world. You can’t be the home of reggae and be ranked 19th. We’re also seeking to protect the name reggae and we’ll be giving a stamp for authentic reggae.”
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill also expressed his full support for “Jamrock Summer – 90 Days, 90 Ways”. He stated, “for years people have seen Jamaica as a place that you can escape to during the winter; now we are providing the ideal destination where you can go and enjoy the summer in a myriad of ways. This initiative forms part of our ongoing effort to provide more unique and exciting things for our visitors to do and to give them a more authentic Jamaican experience.”
He commended Minister Crawford, Chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board, Kingsley Cooper, and his team for creating the concept, and lauded the support of the Jamaica Tourist Board.
President of the JHTA, Nicola Madden-Greig, said, “it’s something that we are all passionate about” and her association saw it as “an absolutely positive thing for Jamaica. All the JHTA’s resort areas are very excited (and) we will be working with promoters in different areas to make sure that we help to market the initiative.” She also anticipates that association members will put together “really good rates so that persons can take advantage of all the activities that will be offered.”
To maximize exposure and reach “Jamrock Summer – 90 Days, 90 Ways” will be supported by a social and traditional media network promotion, including an interactive website.