- Published on Thursday, 04 July 2013 04:23
- Written by Caricom News Network
Kingston, Jamaica: July 4, 2013 – Over $1.2 billion have been earmarked by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to undertake four major projects across the island in keeping with a policy directive from Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill that “the TEF must be a transformational agency and implement projects that will transform the landscape of Jamaica.”
Announcing the projects during his Sectoral Presentation in Parliament, Minister McNeill, said Memoranda of Agreements have been signed already and a total of $550M put in place to start four major projects in resort towns. Funds have already been transferred to the implementing agencies.
The Minister said the first project, to be implemented in Ocho Rios, was to assist in countering the “deleterious effect on the other ports,” of the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier coming into operation. The $400 million Ocho Rios transformational project is a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment (MTE), the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and embraces the area between the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa and the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Pier.
The second major initiative announced by the Minister will provide lighting along Montego Bay’s ‘Elegant Corridor’ (Segment-2a of the North Coast Highway from the roundabout at the Sangster International Airport going east to Lilliput), at a cost of $400 million. The project’s design is completed and ready to go to tender. LED lighting powered directly from the national electric grid will be used.
The Minister announced that a third project will see the construction of bicycle tracks and pedestrian pathways along a six-kilometre stretch between the roundabout and the aerodrome on the Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril at a cost of $ 170 million.
“These improvements will encourage greater visitor mobility and safety, promote inclusiveness and stimulate increased spending in small businesses,” said Minister McNeill as he noted, “This venture is an extension of the project that is currently underway and is slated to be completed by the first quarter of 2014.”
The fourth major initiative which will have a similarly transformative impact on Port Royal. It includes the rehabilitation of the Naval Hospital and the creation of a museum within that building to house the many valuable artefacts that have been recovered from the sea over the years. Some $220 million has been set aside for this project and there will be the development of an interactive children’s museum and the construction of a cobble-stone historic walking trail with storyboards and support services between the Naval Hospital and Fort Charles.
In addition to these major transformative projects, Minister McNeill said TEF funding was also being used “to implement a number of smaller initiatives and projects,” including upgrading of public beaches, the birthplaces of National Heroes and Prime Ministers, Devon House, Milk River Bath and Spa and Bath in St. Thomas.