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Tourism boost as Port Maria Tour set to begin in 2019

Published:Saturday | December 29, 2018 | 12:57 AMCarl Gilchrist
Frederick Young, president, St Mary Chamber of Commerce.

There is a lot of history associated with Port Maria, the second town built by the Spanish settlers in Jamaica back in the 17th century.

Over a century after its establishment in 1760, the most serious rebellion in Jamaica’s history, led by a slave known as Tacky, broke out around the town before spreading across the island.

In 2019, the history of Port Maria and indeed the parish of St Mary will be an integral part of a tour that will be launched through the combined efforts of the St Mary Chamber of Commerce and the St Mary Municipal Corporation, according to chamber president, Frederick Young.

“Right now the Chamber and the St Mary Municipal Corporation are looking at a Port Maria Tour that includes the Civic Centre, the Anglican Church, the Baptist Church (built 1847) and Fort Haldane. The market would be part of the package as well, and to put back the swinging bridge that linked the market to Main Street,” Young revealed.

He said the frame for the walking bridge is still in place but the walking section and the other parts have been missing. This will be rectified.
“All of those put together would be a tour for tourism to come to Port Maria. It is being looked at. We’ve had several meetings with the Municipal Corporation and we looked at some of the funding possibilities to have it started next year.”
St Mary has contributed a lot to Jamaica’s tourism over the years, even as St Ann and Ocho Rios in particular, take credit for much of this, through the naming of properties that are based in St Mary but carry the Ocho Rios tag.

St Mary boasts such popular hotels as Couples Sans Souci, Couples Tower Isle and Beaches Ocho Rios, along with several smaller properties such as Casa Maria Hotel and Galina Breeze. The parish also has several great houses and other tourism-related sites.
“The Port Maria Tour will create employment for locals,” Young noted.