Tourism minister announces plans for coffee innovation town
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced plans to harness the potential of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee to stimulate economic growth and benefit local communities through the creation of a unique, experiential tourism product. Bartlett’s vision for this includes the creation of a coffee innovation town in St Andrew or Portland, which would serve as a hub for showcasing the diverse attributes of this world-famous product.
Bartlett made this announcement on Saturday during the 6th annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, highlighting the importance of coffee to the Jamaican economy and the country’s cultural identity.
“We want to tap into this very large, elongated, wide, and deep coffee value chain, every link of which has potential for economic growth, development, and enhancement of individuals and communities,” he said. “We could build a coffee innovation town in the hills of St Andrew, and possibly Buff Bay, where we could utilise the various attributes of coffee to bring economic well-being to people, and also to bring pleasure, joy, and satisfaction.”
He explained how coffee could be a key driver of experiential tourism, attracting visitors from all over the world looking for unique and authentic cultural experiences.
“In tourism, we have found that consumption is why we travel. And the consumption patterns are created by the cultural offerings of the various destinations that we go to. And so for Jamaica to be able to attract a very wide demographic of all types of people from all over the world, we must increase the offerings of experiences that we offer in Jamaica,” said Bartlett.
“And a key area that we can maximise this experiential tourism is coffee, because of its diversity and its whole broad application, its capacity to be utilised in so many areas,” he added.
The highly anticipated event, which took place at the Newcastle Parade Grounds in St Andrew, featured a plethora of coffee by-products on display, ranging from aromatic candles to indulgent food creations. More than 35 businesses from around the country showcased their unique and diverse coffee-inspired products, providing attendees with an immersive experience of the world of coffee.
During the festival’s opening, Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill, commended the event organisers, noting the event’s cultural and economic value.
“I’m very happy to be here, because clearly, agriculture is alive and well, and the cultural investment is alive and well. I see all the shops down here, and I’ve already tasted some of the products. But as a minister of industry, investment, and commerce, wherever I go, I am there asking for investment to come into this industry, because we have something very special here in Jamaica that we must continue to build,” said Hill.
The 6th annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, organised by the Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, showcased Jamaica’s rich tradition of coffee production and diversity of coffee through coffee-related products and experiences. It also included barista and mixology contests, as well as entertainment from Etana, dBURNZ, the Silverbirds Steelpan Orchestra, and the Charles Town Maroons.