Thu | Aug 22, 2019

Lucea to get tourism push, says Bartlett

Published:Wednesday | July 3, 2019 | 12:29 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Fort Charlotte, located in Lucea, Hanover, was built in the mid 18th century by the British.
Fort Charlotte, located in Lucea, Hanover, was built in the mid 18th century by the British.

Western Bureau:

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says Lucea, the capital of Hanover which sits on a fantastic harbour 25 miles west of Montego Bay, is to be re-imaged and developed as a tourism destination.

“Lucea is the next area for re-imaging. The permanent secretary (Jennifer Griffiths) is being advised to not leave the area. Just do Negril and roll straight into Lucea,” Bartlett said in revealing the destination plan for Lucea at the 85th annual general meeting and convention of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association in Montego Bay last weekend.

Lucea, which is largely known for its role in exporting banana and molasses over several decades, will also see some infrastructural development that will ensure the area is transformed into a suitable tourism destination.

“I have had some discussions with the cruise lines about Lucea, and they are excited about the port,” explained Bartlett.

Bartlett is particularly keen on showcasing Lucea’s scenic harbour and the surrounding lush green landscape, which visitors travelling through the town from Montego Bay to Negril and back, regularly use as a backdrop for photographs.

“Lucea boasts a commanding, untapped and spectacular waterfront yearning to explore,” said Bartlett. “One of the things that make Lucea exciting to work with is the size, and how easy it is going to be with that waterfront. It is commanding as it is spectacular and it will allow you to work with it from Fort Charlotte all the way around to Johnson Town, it is fantastic.”

Should Bartlett’s plan comes to fruition, it should ease some of the concerns now being raised about the future viability of the town, as a proposed Lucea bypass being pitched to alleviate traffic woes in the capital had created unease among some stakeholders.

Nerris Hawthorne, the chairperson for the Lucea Development Initiative, and Custos David Stair have been campaigning for many years for the Government to recognise Lucea’s tourism potential.

“Why is Lucea not getting the attention it deserves? Are these people blind to the possibilities? Are they blind to what we have to offer? Haven’t they seen the beauty of Lucea and the potential? We would like them to see the vast potential for our area and start to do something about it,” Hawthorne lamented in 2017.

Lucea will get attention along with St Thomas; Montego Bay, St James; Negril, Westmoreland; Port Antonio, Portland; downtown Kingston; Ocho Rios, St Ann; and Port Royal, Kingston, under a comprehensive programme to show a different side of Jamaica as a tourism destination.

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