#KINGSTON, Jan. 17 (JIS): Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says he wants the annual Jamaica Rum Festival to become a part of the island’s tourism offerings, and has given the Ministry’s support to help make the event an established product.
Speaking at the launch of the Festival on January 15 at Devon House in Kingston, the Minister said that the Ministry, along with the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), is pumping $6 million into the festival as part of its partnership with the rum companies that are hosting the festival.
The event will be held from February 29 to March 1 at Hope Gardens in Kingston.
“We want the Rum Festival to be a product, not an event. And so from this day forth, all the infrastructure required to make this festival a product will be put in place with the support of the Ministry, to make sure that every year we can go to the market and package this festival with rooms and with seats and bring the visitors to Jamaica to consume this critical asset,” the Minister said.
He argued that the Rum Festival, coupled with the recently launched Coffee Festival, will serve to enhance the country’s global appeal as a travel destination, and strengthen the country’s gastronomical appeal.
“We have been able to bring five critical areas of what we call the passions of people… which drive people to travel, and food is the number-one reason why people travel,” the Minister said.
“So the right thing to do is to build out food experiences, because when you do that, you will be bringing the enticement, the allurement, the glue, the pull that will take the visitors to your destination,” he added.
For her part, Director of Marketing, J. Wray and Nephew Limited, Marsha Lumley, said the rum company is proud to be building Jamaica’s lifestyle product, while expressing delight that the festival was dubbed as one of the significant milestones of the tourism industry last year by the Ministry.
“For Appleton Estate, the Rum Festival is a continued investment to propel our range of blends and ensure that a bit of our island’s golden spirit is in every glass, not only in Jamaica but across the globe,” she said.
Ms. Lumley also thanked her partners in the rum industry – Monymusk, Hampden Estate, Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum, Charley’s JB Rum, Sangster’s Rum Cream and Worthy Park Estate Rum – for helping to further elevate the industry as a global leader.
The two-day event, which will be jointly staged by the Tourism Ministry and the TEF, in collaboration with J. Wray and Nephew Limited’s Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, aims to promote various ways in which rum can be utilised and enjoyed, boost Kingston’s tourism product and showcase Jamaica’s cultural excellence in food, beverage and music.
Patrons will be exposed to the rum-making process, and allowed to sample a variety of blends.