KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has approved funds to carry out additional improvement work in Ocho Rios this year, as part of ongoing efforts to make the resort town more appealing. Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who made the announcement, said some $286 million dollars will be spent on the Ocho Rios Improvement Project, to help create a new visitor experience.
He said the work expected to be undertaken will include the completion of the promenade from the Marina to the Ocean Village Shopping Centre. It will also entail improvements to Main Street and the Ocho Rios Bay Beach entrance to the Turtle River intersection. The project is being financed by the TEF and is being undertaken in partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
Mr. Bartlett said “we have established partnerships with stakeholders in the area who are also expected to come forward with their own ideas on increasing visitor satisfaction, which the Ministry intends to merge with our own ideas to develop the area moving forward.”
The Minister was speaking following a tour of sections of Ocho Rios recently. He noted that since the launch of the Ocho Rios Improvement Project in 2013, the Turtle River Road has been beautifully transformed; the car park at the cruise ship terminal has been renovated and improvement work was also carried out at the entrance to the Marina.
Mr. Bartlett said that the completion of the promenade will facilitate other developments in that area such as small food shops and other businesses along that pathway leading from the pier to the Ocean Village Shopping Centre.
He said Jamaican food and Jamaican music must become a more integral part of the tourism product in the area, as the country seeks to expand its offerings in the industry and generate more earnings for the country. Stressing the need for more restaurants and night clubs to be established in Ocho Rios to cater to the expected inflow of visitors, the Minister said “we need to have live music, reggae music in the town of Ocho Rios so we can market that as part of the attraction and as part of the experience of the visitors.”