Town urgently needs marquee attraction, say stakeholders
Local stakeholders in Falmouth, Trelawny, say the absence of a marquee attraction is preventing the seaport town from maximising its earning potential as a cruise destination and wants its iconic Bend Down Market to be given greater significance as an attraction.
"We badly need to develop a marquee attraction ... . For example, when you speak of St Ann, you speak of a Dunn's River Falls," said Dennis Meadows, the Jamaica Labour Party's caretaker for North Trelawny.
"We here in Falmouth have the resources and the land ... . We want an attraction that when cruise ship passengers come off the ships, they will want to come into the town."
Dr Lee Bailey, the CEO of Caribbean Cruise Shipping and Tours (CCS Tours) Limited, who has made numerous recommendations over the years to make Falmouth a more marketable tourist destination, wants the Bend Down Market to be brought into the mainstream as an attraction.
"One of my recommendations is that we should preserve the Falmouth Bend Down Market that has been around from before I was alive," said Bailey.
"I go to Bend Down to buy my clothes when I go to Italy and on other tours. It is something that tourist will go to. It's unique. It's indigenous ... that involves local people.
"We need to put some physical footprint in Falmouth that tourist will follow - something unique that only Falmouth will have - a marquee attraction," added Bailey.
Delroy Christie, acting president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, thinks the absence of due diligence in the construction of facilities such as the Falmouth Market is undermining the town's capacity to be strong, structured and vibrant.
"I will tell you some of the things that get us really annoyed," said Christie. "The market took a hell of a long time to be completed ... . The market is now built, but it is too small. They will have to expand it. Whatever the problems are must have been known from day one."
Interestingly, Falmouth Mayor Garth Wilkinson said the new market should have been completed before the cruise ship pier and was earmarked as one of the attractions to pull visitors into the town.
For businessman Dennis Seivwright, the answer to a marquee attraction is to have the proposed statue of track and field superstar Usain Bolt mounted in Water Square.
"A statue of Bolt would be a major attraction, but we continue to joke with our potential, and have done nothing, while other countries have capitalised on his fame," said Seivwright.
With regard to issues such as the untapped sports tourism potential of the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium and the failure to capitalise on the global popularity of Bolt, Victor Wright, the member of parliament for North Trelawny, does not believe enough is being done by way of marketing.
"When a tourist is purchasing a ticket ... . We here in Falmouth should ensure that we market our product for what we can offer so that they can see it and want to come to Falmouth."