Wed | Apr 24, 2019

Tourism minister eyes Portland

Published:Saturday | July 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
From left: Port Antonio Mayor Paul Thompson; Francesca Von Habsburg, founder of Alligator Head Foundation; Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett; and Canada’s High Commissioner Laurie Peters, about to enjoy a boat ride during the opening of the Community-based Dive and Non-Motorized Water-sport facility at Anchovy, Portland.

Minister responsible for tourism matters Edmund Bartlett yesterday renewed a commitment to ensure the sustainability of tourism-related projects that will enhance the parish of Portland.

Bartlett, who was guest speaker at the opening of the Community-Based Dive and Non-Motorized Water-sport facility at Anchovy, said that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has provided monetary support to Portland totalling over $430 million to date.

"We consider that to be money well spent," commented Bartlett.

"Those projects included rehabilitation of the road to Winnifred Beach, beautification and clean-up of Winnifred Beach, upgrading of Boston Beach, and the upgrading of the road leading to Reach Falls. Rehabilitation of the Portland Craft Market at Allan Avenue was also done by TEF."

Bartlett said that the establishment of the Community-Based Dive and Non-Motorized Water-Sport facility was completed at a cost of just under $19 million.

"This project has been established through a collaborative effort between the Alligator Head Foundation and TEF. It has seen the construction of a floating dock, acquisition of office equipment to support administrative functions of dive operations, purchase of a patrol boat and a glass-bottom boat, a Special Fisheries Conservation Area, among other things," he added.




Bartlett pointed out that the mission of Alligator Head Foundation is to focus mainly on creativity and science so as to protect fish stocks and to restore habitats.

The tourism minister also commended the Alligator Head Foundation for the fantastic job it has been doing to help safeguard the country's fish population and the environment in general.

"We can boast of having the highest visitor repeat rate in the Caribbean. I know that the people of Portland appreciate the value and importance of tourism. Portland has always been appealing to visitors, with rafting on the Rio Grande, the Blue Lagoon and Frenchman's Cove, visits to the Nonsuch Caves, Reach Falls, just to name a few of your assets," he said.

"From a gastronomic point of view, the authentic Portland Boston jerk pork is in a class by itself."

Meanwhile, Bartlett boasted that Portland will continue to see an expansion in tourism facilities and growth in both cruise ship arrivals and stopover visitors as the many attraction sites, coupled with its lush vegetation and pristine beauty, make it marketable.