The Honourable Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, met with the newly-appointed board of the Urban Development Corporation on August 3, 2016 to discuss strengthening the partnership between both entities.
Minister Bartlett highlighted the five networks being developed by his ministry to attract more visitors to the island namely Gastronomy, Shopping, Sports and Entertainment, Health and Wellness and Knowledge.
He highlighted that the key ingredient to making these networks work successfully was to develop synergy with local partners such as the UDC, the parish councils and the Port Authority of Jamaica.
Specific mention was made of efforts aimed at developing five one stop shop artisan villages and a Craft Institute to serve the training needs of the country as well as to satisfy the high demand for products made in Jamaica. Further discussions will be had with the UDC to design and build one of these artisan villages in Ocho Rios in line with its mandate of development planning and also with its track record of creating world class facilities such as the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James.
Minister Bartlett further highlighted the commitment of the Government of Jamaica to the development of downtown Kingston as a cruise shipping destination subject to the implementation of the necessary amenities and services.
UDC Chairman Ransford Braham in his response thanked the Minister for opening the doors for the strengthening of the partnership and welcomed the opportunity to take on the projects through a finalised Memorandum of Understanding.
Recent collaborations between the UDC and the Ministry of Tourism have seen improvements to the tourism product notably the Turtle River Road in Ocho Rios which benefited from the design and project management expertise of the UDC, the upgrading of the Kingston Craft Market, the establishment of the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Western office at the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the completion of works for the Spanish Town Heritage Trail.
The UDC which falls under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation continues to play a critical role in the tourism industry through the operation of world class attractions such as the Dunn’s River Falls and Park and Green Grotto Caves and Attractions in St. Ann as well as Reach Falls in Portland. The Corporation has also provided leadership and planning input in the development of tourism hotspots such as Montego Bay, Falmouth and Ocho Rios.