The Government has committed $10 million to initiate and build out a major cultural product, which is intended to enhance the visitor experience through the streamlined infusion of reggae music.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, made the announcement during Tuesday’s (December 3) media launch of activities for Reggae Month 2020, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Mr. Bartlett said the concept, dubbed the ‘Tourism Reggae Product’, is intended to facilitate the development and hosting of multiple daily reggae events, particularly in resort areas, targeting visitors to the island who are fans of the genre.
The initiative is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism, in tandem with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
He noted that many visitors travelling for indigenous cultural and entertainment experiences, crave multiple offerings of associated events.
“They aren’t coming for an event today and then next week, another event, and then next month, another event. They want to have reggae events like they do with the tango in Buenos Aires [Argentina] or at the Tropicana in Cuba… three, four times a day. So, this [Tourism Reggae] Product will be available to our visitors 24/7,” he pointed out.
In this regard, Mr. Bartlett said Culture and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, will be collaborating with Director for the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald-Riley, to assemble a team to undertake the groundwork and, thereafter, “we identify investors”.
Mr. Bartlett said the initiative is pivotal to “reimagining” Jamaica’s tourism, in particular bolstering the relationship with culture and entertainment.
“Entertainment represents, perhaps, the strongest element of consumption within the visitor’s patterns; and next to food, music and entertainment is the very next point for which large consumption expenditure is related,” he pointed out.
Additionally, Mr. Bartlett said the number of visitors to Jamaica is projected to double within the next 10 years.
“We are going to have more tourists in the next 10 years than we have ever seen in Jamaica. We are now at the edge of five million… so we are going after 10 million visitors. But we are also doubling the number of rooms that we have… because we currently have on track investment of another 25,000 rooms that will be ready within the next 10 years,” he further indicated.
Consequently, the Minister said this is expected to create demand for more goods and services, adding that “there is going to be a strong call on the cultural assets of Jamaica and we must, therefore, invest in it”.
“So, we are looking for partners now… young enterprising people who can walk the road with us over the next 10 years, because my job, as your Minister, is to carve and create a new path for the development and reimagining of our industry for the next decade and beyond,” Mr. Bartlett said.
He further advised that through the Tourism Ministry’s Entertainment Network, “we are going to provide a window at the EXIM Bank for on-lending to investors in the building out of the reggae product”.
“We want to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that is in our entertainment industry… and create a private-sector arrangement that is going to make for sustainability,” Mr. Bartlett said.
Reggae Month 2020 will be celebrated next February under the theme ‘Come ketch de Riddim’.
It will feature 29 days of live reggae music activities on the island and in the Jamaican diaspora.