$585m development project for Falmouth
NOTING THAT cruise passengers who cruise on Royal Caribbean spend an average of US$106 per day, North Trelawny Member of Parliament Patrick Atkinson said the beautification of the town will create economic opportunities for persons in the parish.
"If one million tourists come into Falmouth, you are talking about US$100 million that they may spend ...; once the money is circulating in Falmouth, you will see the impact," the MP told The Gleaner.
Craft vendors and other business people in Falmouth, Trelawny, are being promised a $585-million development project at the Hampden Wharf in the parish, which will feature restaurants, an entertainment centre and shops that will enable proprietors to get business from persons who arrive at the new cruise-ship pier.
"It will be completely open to visitors and locals. Improvements to heritage assets like the wharf building, the Dome and Foundry and the Tharpe House will be included in the development," Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill announced on Tuesday.
The minister, in contributing to the 2014/2015 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, outlined $1.64 billion worth of projects, which he said are aimed at improving Jamaica's tourism product.
"I am hoping that steps will be taken to see that residents of Falmouth and Trelawny will have some sort of priority in getting the franchises for these shops," Atkinson said.
McNeill told Parliament that a Falmouth streetscape project, which is a collaborative effort of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the Urban Development Corporation and the Port Authority of Jamaica, will entail aesthetic and structural improvement to roads and lanes in the vicinity of Water Square.
"These improvements will enhance the ambience in Falmouth town," McNeill said, while adding that $330 million has been budgeted for this project.
Complete in three years
He said the total expenditure is close to a billion dollars and completion is expected in three years.
Atkinson said the planned development is in response to the complaints of the people in Falmouth that they were not getting enough from the tourism pie. He said with an increase number of visitors and ships making call at Falmouth, it is necessary to make the town ready to attract visitors.
"When the pier was built, the town was not prepared in terms of its aesthetics and attractions. As a result, you had tour buses that come from St Ann to take tourists to Dunn's River, and from Montego Bay to take them to places in St James. Very few, if any of the visitors came to Falmouth, and a survey that was done indicates that the average person spent five minutes in Falmouth before they went back into the pier," the MP said.
Meanwhile, McNeill said major upgrading works are also earmarked for Negril, the major resort town located at the western end of the island.