Addressing the opening of the US$7.2-million “renovated and rebranded” Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience in Siloah, St. Elizabeth, last Thursday, Mr. Bartlett said globally, gastronomy has grown into a US$150-billion industry, “which is now ripe for our taking”.
“If we can get even two per cent of that market, that would be tremendous value added to what we are doing,” he argued. “Attractions like the Appleton Estate Rum Experience contribute significantly to our efforts to develop Jamaica into a gastronomy centre of excellence, as visitors are taken on a journey through the history of rum and view first-hand the development of the spirits from cane to cup,” Bartlett maintained.
He pointed out that more people are travelling to experience the food culture of other destinations, “whether it is local restaurants” or “bars, farms and markets or vineyards and distilleries”.
“The fact is that gastronomy tourism has grown considerably and has become one of the most dynamic and creative segments of tourism globally,” he explained.
The Minister said that as competition between destinations increases, it will be cultural heritage, entertainment offerings and the unique local and regional intangibles like food and cuisine that will make the difference, and Jamaica is second to none in this regard.
Mr. Bartlett added that the fusion of cultures has created a delicious melting pot of wonderfully diverse foods that “make us ideally positioned to take advantage of the growing phenomenon of culinary travel”.
“Gastronomy tourism provides us with an opportunity to add value to Jamaica’s tourism sector by diversifying the product while promoting local economic development,” the Minister argued.
“This is why the Ministry has put in place the framework to develop our culinary offerings. Our Gastronomy Network, which falls under the aegis of our Tourism Linkages Network, has been rolling out a number of innovative initiatives to strengthen Jamaica’s competitiveness in this subsector, including establishing the island’s first Gastronomy Centre at Devon House and the Blue Mountain Culinary Tour,” he added.
The Minister lauded J. Wray and Nephew parent company, Gruppo Campari, “for your vision and belief in Jamaica”, noting that the US$7.2-million investment was a testament “for love of country and the people of the south coast”.
“As the island’s oldest distillery, Appleton Estate is already the biggest tourist attraction on the south coast, bringing in tens of thousands of visitors a year. With the new upgrade, more than 200,000 visitors are expected to visit the home of Appleton over time to experience how the world-leading premium rums are produced,” he said.
- Countries: Jamaica