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Create a tourism SEZ in MoBay- says Henry

Published:Friday | October 30, 2015 | 10:52 AM

Speaking against the background of the belief that success breeds success, the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) is calling on the Government of Jamaica to establish a tourist-recreational special economic zone (SEZ) in the western city.

In an interview with Western Focus, chamber president Gloria Henry said that with tourism being the largest employer in the western region as well as the largest contributor of foreign exchange, it would serve the Government well to establish an SEZ zone in the tourist capital.

"A tourism SEZ would further promote economic vitality and sustainability in Montego Bay and its environs and provide incentives for developers to implement some of the very important projects that the city needs," said Henry.

According to Henry, the projects she is thinking of are projects that could be advanced by the Urban Development Corporation, the St James Parish Council, the Port Authority of Jamaica, and other agencies. She said the SEZ could be established along the strip from the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre to the Pier One Complex.

"We could create an international-class entertainment complex, a modern fishermen's village, a boardwalk, which is already proposed; small-vessel docking facilities; restaurants; and galleries ... and we could utilise our jerk," said Henry.

According to Henry, a food tourism market could be a viable option as it could be a driving force to increase tourist arrivals, more so if the SEZ is implemented. She noted that more and more countries were becoming creative in the proposed style of tourism.

Earlier this year, Henry called on the Government to transform the Montego Bay Hip Strip into a European plan hotel zone, which, she believes, would encourage visitors to visit restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, among other businesses on the strip.

- O. H.