Festival pushes South coast tourism
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
Former reporter Stephanie Gyles Elliot is putting her resources behind her beliefs that South Coast Tourism is the way to go for economic development opportunities.
Through the South Coast Rum, Food and Music Festival, now in its second year, Elliot is hoping the concept will take off and show the viability of the region.
"Opportunities can be opened towards economic development of its citizens especially in the bed and breakfast programme under the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO) and by extension offering of skills services in the cosmetology, arts, hospitality industry," she told Rural Xpress.
According to Elliot, the mindset behind the festival which will take place this year at Leiba Tigermart Lawn in May Pen on July 23 was the big lull in entertainment along the southern section of the island.
"The aim is to achieve much support from tourism related bodies to push the thrust for local and international tourism along the southern sphere with the South Coast Rum Food and Music Festival, being among the major attractions to the zone," she said.
Gyles commenting on the opportunities said they are under explored as persons in tourism continue to operate as if the industry is private.
"Tourism can and should be extended to the average person so they too can earn. Of course there will need to be training of these individuals to get them up to standards in dealing with the visitors eliminating things like tourists harassment etc," she pointed out.
For Elliot, a "relentless effort" will be made through the upcoming festival to resuscitate the entertainment industry on the island's south coast.
"Jamaicans should not be priced out of and not be able to enjoy Jamaica. Our culture is earning billions abroad. Europe is more receptive to our culture so much do that I'm being encouraged to bring my concept of rum food n music there ... Yes Europe we're coming, but Jamaica first."
For Elliott, she wants the beauty of the South Coast to be at the forefront as Cuba according to her, is lurking in the wings. "If we do not wake up the South, we'll be losing millions of tourism dollars. South Coast has too much history, culture and allure not to be explored."