He also emphasized the importance of community members taking ownership and care of the tourism environment, discouraging negative practices such as touting and violence.
Stressing the significance of maintaining a safe and welcoming atmosphere for visitors, the Minister highlighted that by doing so, the community can maximize the benefits of tourism without the need for excessive security interventions. “There is no tourism without the people; nothing happens without you, but you must own it. And you must take care of it, and you must manage it,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Minister further stated, “And that’s where we want to have a little discussion because you’re not taking care of it well enough. You have touts and all kinds of stragglers giving good and bad treatment to guests. And then we are having violence come with it. We cannot build back the facilities here and make wealth flow in Bath if we are undisciplined and do not behave ourselves.”
Bartlett made these remarks yesterday at the Bath Primary School during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the completion of Phase One of the $45.5 million road rehabilitation project. This project provides essential access to the renowned Bath Fountain Hotel in St. Thomas, Jamaica.
During the ceremony, he emphasized that the development plan for Bath and Bath Fountain primarily aims to benefit the people of Bath and the surrounding areas of St. Thomas. He underscored the importance of inclusivity in the government’s tourism strategy and stressed that without the support and engagement of the local community, tourism initiatives cannot thrive.
“So I want to make that very special appeal.”
“We are here to help to build the infrastructure and we are doing it. You must take the responsibility to manage the environment properly and to build an atmosphere that is conducive to people coming to enjoy themselves, feel good and move on,” said Bartlett.
Dr. Michelle Charles, the Member of Parliament for St. Thomas Eastern, also commended the unity and resilience demonstrated by the local community throughout the construction process. She acknowledged the Jamaican government, the Ministry of Tourism, and the agencies of the Ministry of Tourism for their support and investment in the project.
“This road is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together towards a common goal. As we move forward, let us not lose sight of the immense responsibility we bear,” said Dr. Charles. “We must ensure that the success of this road renovation is followed by strategic efforts to market and promote our mineral spa as a world-class tourist attraction… And most importantly, we must preserve the natural beauty and integrity of our surroundings, protecting the very essence that makes this mineral spa so very special.”
The Bath Fountain Hotel, a significant attraction for the parish, attracts tourists worldwide. With the rehabilitation of the access road, a substantial increase in visitor traffic is expected, further enhancing the overall tourism experience.
The improved infrastructure will provide visitors to Bath access to a broader range of community tourism experiences, contributing to Jamaica’s ongoing efforts to establish itself as a premier destination for visitors seeking authentic cultural encounters and heritage immersion.
Financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and implemented by the National Works Agency, this project aims to enhance tourism in the area by promoting community experiences centred on cultural and heritage assets while bolstering Jamaica’s image as a diverse and multifaceted destination.
SEEN IN IMAGE: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (second from the left), strolls along the newly refurbished roadway leading to the Bath Fountain Hotel, after the official ribbon cutting. Accompanying the Minister are (from the left) Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Dr. Michelle Charles, St. Thomas Eastern’s Member of Parliament, and Jennifer Griffith, Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Tourism. The ceremony took place on 19th July 2023 at the Bath Primary School, St. Thomas.