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Negril Chamber seeks town upgrades

Published:Thursday | December 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM

President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce Lee Issa is lobbying the Government's support to upgrade and develop sections of the popular tourist destination in Westmoreland, promising that this will bolster local revenue.

Speaking at the Negril Chamber gala dinner last weekend, Issa said that Negril needs a proper medical centre, as the one currently downtown is ailing.

"It's on life support. It needs a blood transfusion. We want to adopt this medical clinic, and we've got the blessings," he said, noting that so far the Ministry of Health has welcomed the proposed partnership.

"What we want to achieve here is a trauma and medical centre that will be opened seven days a week, 24 hours a day... for the people and visitors to the town of Negril," he continued.

Westmoreland, he added, is among the major food producers, and in need of a proper food market. It would be well-deserved by farmers in western Jamaica, he said, adding that it would also provide large and small-scale hoteliers the opportunity of choosing local produce.

"The third and very important partnership is for a town centre. When we have that new town centre, things will be more organised. The craft market will do better, the fishing village will do better," Issa continued, adding that it would also reduce reports of tourists being hassled by vendors on the road.

"I imagine the possibilities of what this resort town could look like. The sad reality is we have a hodgepodge of buildings with some of them in a rundown condition," he said.

"The truth is government cannot do everything... it behoves all of us in the private sector, and I also mean private citizens, to do our part to make Negril the best place to live, work, do business, and raise a family," he continued, to rounds of applause.

Saturday's gala dinner was held at the Aura Lounge, Swept Away, Negril, and featured guest speaker Daniel Levine, a trend and marketing expert from Avant Guide Institute in the United States. It also featured a silent auction for hotel stays and models of the proposed upgrades.

Levine is urging hoteliers not to become complacent, and to ensure transparency when dealing with customers. He said that businesses in today's globalised world must try their hardest to lift their ratings, and embrace social media marketing.

"The reputation of Jamaica precedes you. People talk about it all the time, and now that I'm here, it's true," he said, noting that social media is transforming the way people plan and enjoy vacations.