The Jamaica Rum Festival (JRF) is the latest event on the island’s cultural calendar that will be incorporated into its tourism product.
The country’s minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, announced last evening, January 15, that the ‘spirited’ festival will be packaged and marketed for potential visitors to the island.
“We want the rum festival to be a product, not just an event. So, we want to, through the Jamaica Tourist Board, package it with rooms and with seats and bring the visitors to Jamaica to consume this critical asset that is from the heart and soul of the Jamaican people,” he remarked at the launch of JRF held at the historic Devon House in St Andrew.
JRF forms part of the Ministry of Tourism’s push to diversify the country’s offering to tourists, specifically in the area of gastronomy. Last year the event attracted some 6,000 patrons.
The festival explores the uniqueness of Jamaican rums, including their history; the process of distillation; and how to savour them.
“We want the rum festival to be a product, not just an event. So, we want to…package it with rooms and with seats and bring the visitors to Jamaica to consume this critical asset that is from the heart and soul of the Jamaican people.”— Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism
“In marketing the festival as a product, I am building out the capacity to retain the earnings from the tourism industry,” Bartlett noted.
He added that the country only retained US$0.30 for every tourist dollar spent.
As a result, the Ministry of Tourism’s Linkages Network has focused on strengthening links between tourism and Jamaica’s other economic sectors to increase the consumption of local goods in order to retain more foreign exchange.
“Today, because of the networks and the various new and opinionated attractions that we are putting together in Jamaica, plus the increase in rooms and airlift, we now retain 40.8 cents on the dollar, which is an increase of 30 percent, the highest in the Caribbean,” the tourism minister explained.
“We are committed to creating a tourism [product] that is reimagined, that provides the most authentic Jamaican experiences for our visitors. In doing that we will allow our small suppliers to earn more from the value chain of the sector by providing their creativity and passion,” he added.