Minister Bartlett: Jamaica Rum Festival bolsters gastronomy tourism product

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Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the Jamaica Rum Festival will broaden the country’s market by adding value to the Gastronomy Tourism product offerings.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett and Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Dr. Carey Wallace are greeted by J Wray and Nephew’s Chairman Clement “Jimmy” Lawrence at the launch of the Jamaica Rum Festival

Speaking at the Launch, which took place on February 05 at the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister Bartlett stated that “The logic behind celebrating our indigenous foods is very clear and the implications on tourism arrivals and growth is equally big…This rum festival is a great opportunity for us to broaden the market by bringing more people to the destination to indulge and then after they leave Jamaica, they will return. We already have a 42% repeat business, but that can multiply if we have events that are products that become annual events for tourism.”

The Festival, which will take place at place at Hope Gardens on March 9 and 10, is being presented by J. Wray & Nephew Limited’s Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum brand in partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). It aims to promote brand Jamaica, boost tourism in Kingston and showcase Jamaica’s cultural excellence in rum, food and music.

According to the organizers, patrons will be exposed to the rum-making process, learn about the unique provenance of Jamaican rums and sample a variety of blends. They will also learn about ideal rum & food pairings, while enjoying entertainment from some of Jamaica’s finest musicians.

TEF’s Executive Director, Dr. Carey Wallace, shared that approximately $10 million has been invested in the Jamaica Rum Festival to assist with marketing and the build out of Artisan Villages, which will be a key feature of the event. The artisan villages will allow patrons to purchase authentic and personalized Jamaican craft items.

Patrons will also be encouraged to explore the Jamaican competitive spirits through their participation in rum-based culinary and mixology competitions, domino contests and other games.

“Gastronomy is an important part of tourism and our exceptional culinary delights such as our coffee and rum are among the top-three reasons why persons visit Jamaica. Every day, many tourists are driven to travel to Jamaica to taste our rich cultural dishes. This is the primary reason we have invested in building out this very important passion point of our visitors,” said the Minister.

The Jamaica Rum Festival will take place a week after the Blue Mountain Coffee Festival – a major food festival being organized by the Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the Tourism enhancement Fund. It will feature Blue Mountain coffee and coffee related products, food stalls, entertainment, cultural presentations, tastings and demonstrations, and workshops.

“This rum festival is a product that will join the coffee festival and the cocoa festival which is coming and we are going to be looking at other commodities of which Jamaica has some level of comparative in terms of the quality of our product and to use those to leverage the experiential tourism that we are marketing,” said Minister Bartlett.

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