#Kingston, December 24, 2018 – Jamaica – The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has committed over $17.5 million to mobilise Jamaica’s first Walking Street Museum on Duke Street as part of downtown Kingston’s redevelopment plans
Dubbed the Duke Street Refurbishing Project (DSRP), the walking street museum will include placement of street art depicting Duke Street’s history, along various locations of the roadway. These include sculptures, murals, low and high relief figures and storyboards.
The work, which is expected to commence by the second quarter of 2019, will also include upgrading and paving of sidewalks in the area.
The Kingston Restoration Company is managing the project, which is part of a public-private initiative to upgrade the target area, which falls between Port Royal Street and East Queen Street.
As the centre for government and commerce, and with its proposed redevelopment now under way, coupled with the anticipated revitalisation of its tourism product, the Ministry of Tourism is seeking to further diversify Jamaica’s product offerings by developing downtown Kingston as a tourist destination.
Director of Projects at the TEF, Yohan Rampair, told JIS News, that the walking museum is seen as a way to create an enduring and unique attraction for visitors, while serving as a vehicle to preserve an important part of the nation’s history.
“Duke Street is already a popular street. It represents the business district of Jamaica [and] is, probably, one of the most traversed streets in downtown Kingston. We are trying to establish our city for locals and tourists to enjoy [and] this project will make the impact that we are looking for in the redevelopment of downtown Kingston,” he pointed out.
Mr. Rampair noted that the initiative will contribute to the promotion of sustainable heritage tourism attractions in the downtown area. Additionally, he said the project is consistent with the Ministry’s thrust to increase its “experiential” tourism product.
“We think this is a good offering. By offering diverse products, people will come and enjoy it because every visitor has an individual need. Our Minister [Hon. Edmund Bartlett] has said he wants to have an experiential tourism product – not just sun, sea and sand… . It must be your experience here. So we try to make as wide a cross section of these experiences available as possible,” the Project Director said.
Additionally, with its designation as a Creative City of Music by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr. Rampair contended that Kingston is poised to become another in the increasing number of tourist destinations.
“It is considered to be a destination, itself, for us in tourism… not just Montego Bay, Ocho Rios or Negril. There is some amount of appeal to downtown Kingston,” he pointed out, citing visitor treks to Trench Town to learn about the history of Jamaica’s music, as an example.
Mr, Rampair said while not all persons in the wider society have embraced the concept, “we encourage it”.
“Because, at the end of the day, what this is doing is not only putting money into the hands of the big hoteliers but [will see] the man who sells bag juice on the street [also] earning, because tourists are walking on the street. So it will also be growing the economy of the area,” he added.
Photo Caption: George William Gordon House, one of the historic landmarks on Duke Street, Kingston, which is the home of Jamaica’s Houses of Parliament. The building was named in honour of one of Jamaica’s National Heroes.
JIS File Photo