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IS ENTERTAINMENT THE ROAD TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY FOR JAMAICA?

‘Entertainment Tourism Is The Way To Go’

 

A section of the jam-packed Trelawny multi-purpose stadium during the recently held Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.
A section of the jam-packed Trelawny multi-purpose stadium during the recently held Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2012.

Adrian Frater, News Editor

Western Bureau:——–

Buoyed by the success of the 2012 Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, businessman Walter Elmore, chairman of Art of Music Productionswhich staged the annual event, thinks that if properly managed, entertainment tourism could become a major foreign exchange earner.

“We are able to fill up all the airline seats coming to Jamaica and so many hotel rooms,” said Elmore. “The country earned hundreds of millions of dollars and the spin-off went all the way from the big hotels down to the small taxi operator.”

With some 10,000 visitors among the more than 30,000 fans who attended last weekend’s edition of the festival, Elmore said he is absolutely convinced that Jamaica has the capacity to become a major destination for entertainment tourism.

“After Friday night, I am convinced that entertainment tourism can become a major money-earner for this country,” said Elmore. “If we have the vast majority of the visitors paying US$300-US$500 per night for a hotel room, we are talking about serious money.”

Elmore said he would like to see at least four major international entertainment events like the Jazz & Blues Festival be staged annually.

“I see no reason why we cannot stage four events like the Jazz & Blues festival every year,” said Elmore. “Jamaica is a beautiful place; people enjoy themselves when they come here. We just need to give them what they want in terms of quality events like Jazz & Blues.”

“We just need to get in quality acts, and the support will come,” added Elmore. “It was clearly proven on Friday night when patrons packed the venue to capacity to see Celine Dion.”

Elmore’s belief in the potential of entertainment tourism is shared by theJamaica Tourist Board (JTB), which sees such events as critical marketing tools in advertising the island as a premier tourism destination.

“Events like Jazz and Blues bring tremendous benefits to our economy,” JTB executive Jason Hall told Western Focus recently. “It attracts strong overseas media attention, and as Jamaica’s premier marketing arm, this is good for the JTB.”

Falmouth’s Mayor, Colin Gager, whose seaside town became the epicentre of the excitement that unfolded over the three days of the festival, said the town stands ready to host more world-class festivals.

“Mr Elmore took a venue (the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium) that nobody believed in and made it work … he brought the world to Falmouth and we are eternally grateful,” said Gager.

“He filled our hotel rooms, filled our airline seats and opened us up to the world … what more could we ask for? This is a man we should cherish and we stand ready to support him with any other venture he would like to take here.”

From left: Reggae star John Holt chats with Damion Crawford, state minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, as fellow reggae star Derrick Morgan and Tourism and Entertainment Minister Wykeham McNeill look on at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.
From left: Reggae star John Holt chats with Damion Crawford, state minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, as fellow reggae star Derrick Morgan and Tourism and Entertainment Minister Wykeham McNeill look on at the  recently held Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.

 

 

Adrian Frater, News Editor

Western Bureau:

 

Contributed photos

 

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