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Falmouth unexplored, Trelawny's full tourism potential yet to be realised

Published:Saturday | July 9, 2011 | 12:00 AM
This water-supply facility, located in Martha Brae, Trelawny, dates back to the 1700s and is the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. However, it is yet to be opened to the tourist market. - Photo by Mark Titus

Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer


Mayor of Falmouth, Collin Gager, says the growth of the Trealwny's attraction products and aggressive marketing from stakeholders are essential to maximising revenues from the cruise-ship boon in the parish.

"I think there ought to be more (attractions) because we must be able to hold all the tourists who want to stay in the parish," he told Western Focus on Tuesday.

Trelawny has seen a flurry of activities and increased tourist arrivals since the opening of the cruise-ship pier in Falmouth five months ago.

The popular Swamp Safari attraction in Falmouth is being refurbished, while work on the site of the historic waterwheel in Martha Brae was just completed at a cost of $9 million. However, its operator, Desmond Leaky, is mum on his plans for the picturesque property.

No timeline has been given by Everglades Farms, the operator of Long and Hampden sugar factories, for plans to add a tourism component to its business plan. The Hussey-owned entity has plans to include a rum museum for Hampden, a sugar cane museum at Clark's Town, as well as tours of the great houses and cane mills now being refurbished.

Better marketing needed

Mayor Gager also charged that the management at the Martha Brae rafting attraction must be do more to promote the landmark location.

When Western Focus visited the facility, a group of raft captains painted a dismal image of the attraction.

"It was better when we were getting the little tourists from Montego Bay," said one of the men, who was supported by his colleagues.

Another raft captain, who identified himself only as 'Isaac', added: "Not much happening here at Martha Brae. We think it would better than before, but it don't go like that. We don't know if it will change, but the ships coming for some time now, so we should be seeing better."

Operator John Gourzong could not be reached for comment. But Mark Melville, president of the Association of Jamaican Attractions Limited, disagreed with the raft captain's assessment.

"They have been doing good business. I'm not aware, neither do I understand why there should be complaints about Martha Brae, one of our legendary sites," said Melville.

Trelawny's Outameni Experience, located on the outskirts of the Falmouth, has grown in popularity over the years. It is supported by both locals and visitors.

The multimillon-dollar Good Hope Great House in the parish has some 10 different attractions for visitors, and plans are now in place to promote the facility as a wedding and events destination.

"We have a lot of tours going on - especially from the cruise ships," said its events planner, Deborah Smikle.

"It's unfortunate for those attractions that are not experiencing good business in this period. I think they might need to be more aggressive," she said.

The luminous lagoon at Glistening Waters cannot contend for the cruise ship passengers, as its main drawing card is evident at nights. However, it continues to enjoy great popularity as an events-and-dining venue.

The town of Falmouth itself is a national monument, and has a rich heritage dating back more than 240 years. It is one of the first shipping ports in the Caribbean, and was an economic powerhouse during the English colonial period. Falmouth also boasts one of the largest collections of 19th-century Georgian architecture.