BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth, Monday, April 3, 2018: Horticulture is to have a place in the Tourism Linkages Network with a view to have Jamaicans benefiting from the nearly US$3 million currently being spent to import flowers.
Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett disclosed yesterday that he had discussed with Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council (TLC), Adam Stewart, the need to have the horticultural societies represented at the next meeting of the Council “because we must include in the Linkages, the floral attributes and the floral cultural assets of Jamaica for sale in the hotels across the country.”
He said the nearly US$3 million spent on importing flowers from Costa Rica and other countries last year should be going into the pockets of farmers and horticulturists across Jamaica.
Minister Bartlett was giving the keynote address at the official opening of the 56th staging of the St Elizabeth Horticultural Society’s annual flower show at Independence Park. He told the gathering that, “We must take a new look at providing this particular product for the industry, in terms of quality and availability; how we create the arrangement and more importantly, a new look at the culture itself of production of these important assets.”
He underscored that today’s visitor “is into value, high end production and presentation and so it’s not enough for us to just plant the flowers or even to arrange it, it is better for us to give them quality output that are highly produced and carefully packaged.”
Minister Bartlett said with plans for the development of south coast tourism, the horticultural producers had much to look forward to. He noted that the assets of St Elizabeth, in particular, should go a far way in converting it into a tourism parish.
He said he was looking at Black River, with its rich cultural heritage, and recalling the town was where a lot of firsts took place in Jamaica “and that Black River has a very strong place in the history of the African Diaspora in our region, but more importantly in terms of the Trans-Atlantic Trade” and the impact that the town’s port had trading in logwood, sugar, molasses and slaves.
The Tourism Minister also pointed to current assets of great interest such as the Black River Swamp Safari, Pelican Bar which has been rated by TripAdvisor as among the number one attractions in the Caribbean as well as others around the town, including YS Falls, the development of Appleton Estate, “which is going to be a game changer for St Elizabeth and we’re expecting 200,000 to 300,000 visitors coming to that facility alone when the rail service is restored.”
The people of ‘St Bess’ were told that their parish would be seeing a different type of tourism as it will not have the mega all-inclusive hotels as those on the north coast. “We’re going to have a more sober, community type tourism with a small carbon imprint and a lesser density but we’re going to bring a higher end of visitors into this area with what I call luxury of a rustic nature,” said Minister Bartlett.
He assured the hundreds of patrons to the show that, “We’re going to see a new type of visitor coming into these areas and they are going to be interested in horticulture, in fruits that you produce, in the critical cultural assets that are endemic to St Elizabeth so that when they leave you they can go back to their countries fully impressed and satisfied that they came to a unique piece of God’s creation, St Bess.”
He lauded the founders of the horticultural show and those who have sustained it for the past 56 years and “who have laboured over the years to make horticultural activities in the parish remain a strong part of the cultural offerings and presentations of this great parish.”
FIRST PLACE ORCHID: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett (3rd left), could not resist the enchantment of this beautiful orchid which won first place in its class at the 56th staging of the St Elizabeth Horticultural Show on Monday, April 2, 2018, held at Independence Park in Black River. Minister Bartlett who officially opened the show, shares the joy with former horticulturists, Adverline Callum (right) and (from left) Special Advisor Delano Seiveright and Marsha Roberts who guided a tour of the main pavilion.
For further information contact:
Public Relations Officer
Ministry of Tourism
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