Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has announced that the Jamaica Rum Festival (JRF) will be packaged and marketed as a tourism product and sold to potential visitors to the island.
Speaking at the launch of the festival at Devon House last evening, Minister Bartlett said: “We want the rum festival to be a product, not just an event. So, we want to, through the Jamaica Tourist Board, package it with rooms and with seats and bring the visitors to Jamaica to consume this critical asset that is from the heart and soul of the Jamaican people.”
The JRF covers an exploration of Jamaican rum; how it is made; the varying types and how best to enjoy it.
Globally, millions of people travel annually to attend various types of festivals, which have become a niche that destinations can capitalize on to boost arrivals and earnings. Last year, the JRF attracted 6000 patrons.
Minister Bartlett said: “In marketing the festival as a product, I am building out the capacity to retain the earnings from the tourism industry. In 2016, we were retaining only 30 cents on the dollar.
“Today because of the networks and the various new and opinionated attractions that we are putting together in Jamaica plus the increase in rooms and airlift, we now retain 40.8 cents on the dollar, which is an increase of 30 percent, the highest in the Caribbean.”
The Ministry’s Tourism Linkages Network continues to strengthen the links between tourism and other economic sectors to increase consumption of local goods and services, diversify the tourism product and retain more of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
“We are committed to creating a tourism that is reimagined that provides the most authentic Jamaican experiences for our visitors. In doing that, we will allow our small suppliers to earn more from the value chain of the sector by providing their creativity and passion,” added the Minister.