Wed | Oct 26, 2016

Get the reefs back - Bridgewater says Jamaica should protect environment to grow tourism

Published:Monday | December 10, 2012 | 12:00 AM
US ambassador to Jamaica, Pamela Bridgewater, listens intently to Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill at the Tourism Service Excellence Awards. - Photo by Sheena Gayle

Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

UNITED STATES ambassador to Jamaica, Pamela Bridgewater, has said better environmental policies and improved road network are some of the ways the Government can improve the country's major income earner, tourism.

"Institute policies to regulate fishing and pollution to help protect the coral reefs like Turk and Caicos," Bridgewater urged during an address at the Tourism Service Excellence Awards at the Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Montego Bay on Saturday.

"I have heard some tourists say, 'Where are the coral reefs; we don't see any fish anymore?' Get the reefs back so they can continue to come and be happy," Bridgewater urged.

She added that as the country seeks to diversify its attraction allure for visitors, the rural areas are great options to be explored but it cannot be as successful without the proper road infrastructure to traverse through these areas.

"You have to invest in the sector for it to pay you maximum dividends it can and should be yielding. Arrange more trips in the rural areas of the island, but you have to fix and maintain those roads first," the ambassador said.

Bridgewater also suggests venturing into newer resort models such as small boutique properties and capitalising on ecotourism.

Bridgewater also encouraged the Government to take advantage of new technology to market Jamaica as a tourism destination.

"Use the full power of the Internet, formulating global marketing messages, some of which you are currently doing, that is tailored to the different audiences using social media. I am certain Jamaica can improve its virtual presence at a low cost," Bridgewater said.