Positive Tourism News

Positive articles, news and events in the Caribbean.

GOJ Partners with Singapore to Develop Special Economic Zone


PHOTO CAPTION: ["Prime Minister Andrew Holness is presented with books on the development of Singapore by Daniel Seah (third left), Deputy Director, Singapore Corporation Enterprise during a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister today. Looking on are: (L-R) Mrs Audrey Sewell, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister; Diana Edwards, President, Jampro; Metry Seaga, Chairman, Special Economic Zone and Dr Eric Deans, CEO, Special Economic Zone .]

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, this morning (January 26) met with Daniel Seah, Deputy Director of Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and representatives from the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA) to discuss the partnership between both governments to develop Jamaica’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Prime Minister Holness said that the “development of the SEZ will greatly impact Jamaica’s economic development as all Jamaicans should benefit from the Zone."

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Ambassador Audrey Marks Meets U.S. Vice President-Elect Mike Pence

Photo Caption: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (center) Karen Pence (Left) Jamaica’s Ambassador Hon. Audrey Marks

Source Article by: Derrick Scott ~ Source: South Florida Caribbean News

Washington, DC – Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey Marks, extended best wishes to United States President Donald Trump and his Cabinet for a successful tenure in office.

Ambassador Marks who was the nation’s representative at the Chairman’s Global Dinner, hosted by Presidential Inaugural Committee Chairman Thomas Barrack, on January 17, used the opportunity, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica to congratulate the President on his election victory.

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Give Europe African tourists instead of migrants: UNWTO Candidate Walter Mzembi

Source: eturbonews.com

He wants to become the new top executive, the new Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Competing with numerous candidates he is optimistic to be the new leader of World Tourism after the UNWTO General Assembly meets in September 2017 in China.

Zimbabwe’s minister of tourism and hospitality, the Hon. Walter Mzembi has been working day and night for many months, trying to earn the trust, show the courage and knowledge to lead this top post. Even though for some time he was the only contender for Secretary General, he never missed a meeting or an opportunity to show up anywhere in the world to contribute his fresh global approach of thinking.

He is African, he thinks Africa should be leading the next UNWTO, but he certainly is a global citizen.

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UWI Welcomes Jamaica Awards And Symposium

Source: SFLCN.com

KINGSTON, Jamaica – This year’s UWI Awards and Symposium is scheduled for February 22, 2017 5-8pm at the Open Campus Learning Centre, University West Indies, Mona and will showcase tourism, education and culture with all proceeds to benefit Christian mission and school project.

UWI Awards Patron Ambassador of China to Jamaica, Niu Quinbago, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith will join in paying homage to Business Man of The Year, Top Caribbean Resort destination, and Caribbean Airlines superpower CAL, the warmth of the islands.

The red carpet event will be covered by local and international media as well as augment Jamaica’s event tourism calendar while providing millions of dollars in marketing revenue for sponsors for twelve months.

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US$250 Million Being Invested in Jamaica’s Tourism Sector

Source: Jamaica's Ministry of Tourism

KINGSTON, Jamaica; January 25, 2017: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that Jamaica’s tourism sector received a massive boost last week with the announcement that some US$250 million is being invested in the sector to develop hotels under three major tourism development projects.

Speaking at the press launch of the expanded Spruce Up Jamaica programme at the historic Devon House recently, the Minister said, “the third week of January was the most powerful for Jamaica’s tourism industry in a long time. This is the largest set of investments we have had announced in the space of a week, as combined they value approximately US$250 million.  The accumulated job potential of this is significant with nearly 5,000 jobs being created.”

Just last week, while he was in Spain, Minister Bartlett signed an agreement with representatives of the Excellence Group of Luxury Hotels and Resorts to build two hotels in Oyster Bay, Trelawny, which will add over 700 rooms to the island’s room-stock.  The first hotel, which will open in the first half of 2018, will be built at a cost of US$110 million. The project is expected to generate some 2,000 new jobs in the construction and operation phases.

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TPDCo Signs Agreement with Edna Manley College to Establish Craft Development Institute

Ministry of Tourism

KINGSTON, Jamaica; January 24, 2017: The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) today (January 24, 2017) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts to develop a Craft Development Institute (CDI) in St. Ann’s Bay.

The signing, which took place during the press launch of the expanded Spruce Up Jamaica programme, is significant as the institute will be the first of its kind in the country.  

The MOU outlines in detail, the role the entities will play in the development and management of the craft institute. TPDCo will play a major role in the project as they will execute the development of the CDI, as well as all the activities directly related to the Spruce Up Jamaica programme on a day-to-day basis.

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Doug E Fresh & Estelle Among Honorees at UWI Fundraising Gala

Source: South Florida Caribbean News (SFLCN)

Singer Estelle, International Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Paul Salmon and the Inaugural Shirley Chisholm Award Highlights the Evening

New York – Doug E Fresh, Barbadian born American rapper, record producer and beat boxer, known as ‘The Human Beatboxer,’ is among the 2017 honorees at this year’s Annual Legacy Awards Gala of the American Foundation for The University of West Indies (AFUWI), a registered US charity.

The New York City, black-tie event which will be held on February 23 at The Pierre Hotel in New York City, is AFUWI’s signature event. Now in its 20th year, proceeds from the Gala provide an average of 50 scholarships annually for students across The UWI’s four campuses.

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Maroon Festival to be Promoted Under New Tourism Marketing Initiative

Source: Ministry of Tourism ~ www.mot.gov.jm.

ACCOMPONG TOWN, Cockpit Country, Jamaica; January 9, 2017: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that the 279-year-old Maroon community of Accompong is to have pride of place as the first cultural heritage location to be promoted worldwide as part of a new marketing initiative being driven by the Ministry’s Tourism Linkages Network.

“We will make Accompong the first destination and we will now place the anniversary festival on the calendar of events and market the community alongside the destination when we go abroad to market experiences in Jamaica”, said Minister Bartlett. He noted that, “we are satisfied that the authenticity of this experience will enhance Jamaica’s presence in the global arena.”

The Ministry’s plan for the community was outlined by the Minister as he gave the keynote address at last Friday’s festival commemorating the 279th Anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty by the Maroons and the British. “We are going to work with Colonel Ferron Williams and his cultural committee to build out this festival experience to make it a calendar event that is promoted to all visitors who come to Jamaica,” the Minister said.

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Unseen and Unspoken Poetry Competition

Source: http://www.commonwealthwriters.org

Photo Credit: Google.com 

To commemorate World Braille Day, the Commonwealth Youth Council launches “Unseen & Unspoken.” This is a segment of creative expression of the #iamABLE campaign through the art of poetry.

The theme of the competition is “My disability does not define me.” The theme can be interpreted many ways – writers could focus on achievements and talents they have in spite of a disability, or positive traits they have or have developed as a result of their disability. ]

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Two Caribbean Destinations Among Top 10 Fitness Vacations For The New Year

Source: Caribbean360.com

GEORGIA, USA, Friday January 6, 2017 – Whether you’re determined to ditch the pounds piled on over the holidays, or are among a growing number of travellers who demand fitness facilities to compliment vacation fun, destinations worldwide are at your service to cater to every healthy living need.

A New Year health kick doesn’t have to mean detox, denial and downright misery, however, a fact illustrated by freelance travel writer Joe Minihane who compiled CNN’s Top 10 fitness vacations for the New Year.

The Caribbean secured two places on the list in the shape of Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

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Rifai: A unique opportunity to build more responsible and committed tourism sector in 2017

12 months to celebrate and promote the contribution of the tourism sector to building a better world. This is the major goal of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 that will start in few days.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute effectively to the SDGs.

"This is a unique opportunity to build a more responsible and committed tourism sector that can capitalize its immense potential in terms of economic prosperity, social inclusion, peace and understanding, cultural and environmental preservation” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

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Sandals is expanding in the Caribbean with Sandals LaSource Saint Lucia

The property, which Sandals is billing as a “six-star” resort, will break ground next to the existing Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Resort in Spring 2017. It gets its LaSource name from Sandals’ Grenada resort.

The 350-room-and-suite resort will feature some of the brand’s latest innovations, like an infinity-edge sky pool, SkyPool Butler Suites and all-butler swim-up “Rondoval Suites,” a first for the chain.

The resort will also include a main stage with a 20-foot LED screen and a “mobile DJ party scene.”

“We pride ourselves on continuously raising the bar and Sandals LaSource Saint Lucia will completely re-energize the tourism market in Saint Lucia,” promised Sandals Chairman, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.  “Since we first opened Sandals Regency La Toc in 1993 we have consistently invested millions of dollars to re-imagine our offerings to ensure our resorts and the Saint Lucian destination is among the best in the world and thereby boosting the local economy.”

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$80 Million Allocated for Negril Artisan Village

NEGRIL, Westmoreland, Jamaica; Sunday, December 18, 2016: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has assured craft traders in the fast developing resort town of Negril that $80 million has been allocated to construct an artisan village in the area.

“I am pleased to announce to you today that we are going to proceed with the development of the infrastructure for the craft entrepreneurs in Negril by way of building out the artisan village here in Negril,” Minister Bartlett told the craft traders when he met with them on the weekend. This as the Minister and other officials from the Ministry of Tourism and its agencies visited the area as part of a winter tourist season motivational tour.

He told the gathering at the Negril Green Island Planning Authority that details of the $80 million project would be outlined to them by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) early in the New Year.

“Some aspects of the design are already completed and we will have to work with you for full buy-in because one of the things that we want to ensure is that you have very commodious setting and comfort,” he noted.

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Jamaica Tourist Board Signs MOU with Airbnb

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 14, 2016:  A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a framework for cooperation to further boost and diversify Jamaica’s tourism product, was signed on December 13, 2016 by the Jamaica Tourist Board and home-sharing accommodation company Airbnb.

Ahead of the signing, at the Jamaica Tourist Board’s New Kingston offices, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett expressed his excitement about the positive impact he expects the partnership to have on the travel experience of visitors and Jamaica’s tourism product overall.

“This partnership will help expose our visitors to our rich culture and showcase the warm Jamaican hospitality for which we are known the world over. I also believe great things will come from this, as we cooperate in areas of common interest, including marketing Jamaica as a tourist destination; promoting sporting events as well as our festivals and other cultural events; and fostering responsible home sharing,” said Minister Bartlett.

The Airbnb digital platform is currently used by approximately 140 million people in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries.  Its growing popularity has caused some concern locally from tourism interests, as it currently surpasses some major hotel chains in terms of number of beds offered and market valuation.

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​​​​​​​Christmas Message from Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks, Ambassador of Jamaica to the Unites States

WASHINGTON, DC – Fellow Jamaicans and Friends of Jamaica,

I greet you warmly at this special and most wonderful time of the year.

Jamaicans across the globe look forward to Christmas for so many compelling reasons.  It is a time for celebration and festivities as we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ; for family gatherings; and for sharing with those less fortunate.  It is also a time for quiet reflection and an opportunity to look forward to a new year, full of hope and new beginnings.

As 2016 draws close to an end, we can look retrospectively on a year that was quite eventful across the globe.

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Ministry of Tourism Tourism Linkages Networks Expanded to Further Drive Economic Growth

KINGSTON, Jamaica; December 8, 2016:  Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett today (December 08, 2016) officially launched five new networks under its overarching Tourism Linkages Network initiative, to better position the sector to generate higher growth rates, in both visitor arrivals and earnings.

The Tourism Linkages Network was first introduced in 2013 with the primary goal of ensuring that tourism would be better integrated with other sectors. The initial focus was strengthening the relationship with the manufacturing and agricultural sectors as well as the creative industries. The Tourism Linkages Network is spearheaded by a Tourism Linkages Council, Chaired by renowned hotelier Mr. Adam Stewart.

The Council has two main groups which directly foster greater synergy between tourism and the productive sectors namely the Agriculture Technical Working Group and the Manufacturing Technical Working Group.

However the tourism linkages initiative has now been expanded to include five new networks: Gastronomy; Sports and Entertainment; Health and Wellness; Shopping; and Knowledge.

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Rastafari RootzFest 2016 Ready to Showcase Jamaica’s Indigenous Trendsetting Cultural Heritage

Negril, Jamaica (December 7, 2016). Rastafari RootzFest 2016 recently staged its Western Launch on November 29, 2016 at Boardwalk Village, Negril. The event, hosted by Sharon Parris-Chambers, Health & Wellness Consultant with Let's Do it in the Caribbean, brought together sponsors, stakeholders, community members, including a representative of Negril Police Force and the Media. Key outcomes from the launch catapulted Rastafari RootzFest to another level of success far above expectations, identifying Rastafari RootzFest 2016 as Jamaica’s indigenous cultural heritage showcase on the world stage. The second staging of RootzFest is from December 9-11, 2016 at Long Bay Beach Park. Gates open daily at 12 Noon.

Brian Wallace, Director, Tourism Enhancement Fund Board and Sponsor, said “The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) believes that the Rastafari RootzFest is special; it is worth the investment. Negril grew out of a sleepy fishing village… look at us now! Our people know more about the Rastafari religion, in fact, my family knew Iyah V from McNeil’s land (in Westmoreland). He was the original Rastaman and is the epitome of Rastafari…There is virtue and value of ganja to Jamaica.” 

Rastafari Rootzfest is poised to build on the natural human and cultural capital of the philosophy and sacrament of Jamaica’s indigenous people that has captured the imagination of the world. Firstman (Edward Wray) a co-producer of the event announced that an Indigenous Chief from Canada will be attending the RootzFest, adding to the richness and diversity of the programme.

Ras Iyah V, CEO of RASTAFARI IN INITY and founder of Rastafari RootzFest, gave the festival overview. He said “I become an advocate for de-criminalization of Ganja at an early age.” It is his persistence and commitment to Rastafari ideology, which has led to this moment of historical importance in Jamaica. He urged Jamaica to follow the lead of Colorado in the use of Cannabis oil to treat epilepsy. He complimented the work of Manley West, a Jamaican, in developing Canasol eye drops and Asmasol (asthma relief) for the Jamaican marketplace and called for greater standards in processing Medical Cannabis with the use of cutting edge extraction machines.

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Jamaica Cops Top Awards at the 23rd Annual World Travel Awards

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has been bestowed the distinctive award of World’s Leading Personality for Outstanding Services to Travel, at the 23rd Annual World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final held in the Maldives, Southern Asia on December 2, 2016. Destination Jamaica and local tourism partners also copped several prestigious awards at the event.

 “I am very pleased to receive this award. It is truly humbling to be recognized in this manner at such a major event attended by many of the world’s leading travel and tourism stalwarts,” said Minister Bartlett.

The award is the most prestigious honour in the travel industry each year and is presented to an individual who has made a monumental contribution to the travel and tourism industry. The recipient also had to make a positive, defining impact on the industry, not only over the last 12 months, but over the course of a lifetime.  

In making the decision, World Travel Awards President, Graham Cooke shared that their academy met to review suitable candidates and Minister Bartlett’s name unanimously came to the fore.“We are deeply privileged to be able to formally honour and recognize such a pioneering and inspirational man and to present to the global industry an exemplary torch bearer of undisputed industry excellence and a power of good to the world of travel,” said Mr. Cooke.

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All Roads Lead to Negril for Rastafari RootzFest Dec. 9-11

Negril welcomes the return of Rastafari Rootzfest™ for a second year at Long Bay Beach Park December 9-11. The unique three day and night festival, offers a sensory immersion experience for fans looking for an authentic cultural celebration of Rastafari livity and the importance of ganja as a sacramental right of Jamaica’s indigenous people.

For the promoter “Rastafari Rootzfest showcases a wholistic mix of activities, speakers, exhibitors, food vendors and performers for a growing fan base to fulljoy” stated Ras Iyah V.  “Continuing with the standard set in our debut last year,” he continued, “we work to meet the audience’s expectations and therefore invite performers whose music strike a positive chord with the many thousands of Rastafari and Ganja enthusiasts.”  Friday night’s beach concert will feature Freddie McGregor, Half Pint, Sister Carol, Chezidek, Daweh Congo, Dre Island, Rocktop Band as well as Negril’s own Alicee and backing band Hiyah Grade.  Also appearing will be Canadian artistes Comfort and Isax.  Saturday, December 10, the beach concert stage will feature Protoje and The Indiggnation, alongside Richie Spice, Andrew Tosh, Lutan Fyah, Sevana, Yvad, Elan as well as Michie Mee and Tony Anthony from Canada and Negril rising star Prince J. Nyahbinghi House drummers will perform throughout the festival along with guest selectors Mutabaruka and DJ Jesse will provide the music soundtrack for the 2016 edition of the festival led by Reggae legend Peter Tosh’s ganja anthem 'Legalize It' which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.  The festival will close on Sunday evening with the Ganjamaica Cup Awards Ceremony.

Rastafari Rootzfest™ is designed as a celebration of indigenous Rastafari livity and includes the Ganjamaica Cup, a cannabis competition inviting island-wide submissions from the country's best growers to showcase indigenous plant strains and products to be judged by an expert panel.  This year’s seminar series will be presented in association with Oaksterdam University, the festival's International Education Partner and America’s first cannabis college.  Topics will be explored through two growers workshops and seminars on various aspects including Standards, Extracts, Intellectual Property, Innovation and Technology.  Sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Alpha Cat, Yellow Bird Resort, Skunk Magazine, Bess FM, IRIE FM and endorsed by the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Hotel & Tourism Association (JHTA), Negril Chamber of Commerce and the Westmoreland Hemp & Ganja Farmers Association (WHGFA).

Gates open 12 noon daily with the opening ceremony on Friday December 9th kicking off 14 educational seminars and workshops, Rasta reasonings and featuring 50+ exhibitors and ital food vendors as well as yoga, networking and two nights of beach concerts where old school meets new for a mystical Reggae experience. Tickets on sale at:

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A Banana Exporter Wins Haiti’s Presidential Election

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Tuesday November 29, 2016 – Preliminary results show a second round in Haiti’s presidential elections won’t be necessary, after the winner in the first round of elections – banana exporter Jovenel Moïse – took more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) reported that Moïse took 55.67 per cent of the vote in the November 20 election, far ahead of his closest rival Jude Celestin who won 19.52 per cent of the vote, followed by Jean-Charles Moïse with 11.04 per cent and Maryse Narcisse with 8.99 per cent.

With Moïse’s simple majority, a planned January runoff will be avoided once the losing candidates do not contest the results.

Moïse, 48, who runs a banana export company that he sees as a model for rural development, also won the first round in the October 2015 elections that was scrapped following allegations of widespread fraud. His margin, however, was not as large.

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