Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the Hampden Wharf Development Project, will further his Ministry’s efforts to reposition the town of Falmouth as one of the Caribbean’s premier cruise destinations and leading resort towns.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the mega-infrastructure project, on March 16, the Minster shared that the $550 million investment being made by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will yield high returns to the country’s economy, as it will create an environment to accommodate several Falmouth-owned local small enterprises and other businesses.
“The Hampden Wharf Development forms part of our ongoing discussions on how we can make the small and medium enterprises within the structure, become more responsive to the demand of tourism…to bring more earnings and income into the destination – and most importantly for the retention of these earnings in the communities that are the beneficiaries of tourism,” said Minister Bartlett.
The project currently sits on 1.6 hectares of land along the historic Falmouth Port. It is being executed by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Urban Development Company, with the first phase expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2018.
“The US $5.7 million project will have: 47 shops; five restaurants and bars; 12 mini-stalls which will allow our visitors to get a taste of Jamaica; and 12 major shops and activities for children. It is going to be something quite unlike anything else in the Caribbean,” said PAJ President, Professor Gordon Shirley.
A key feature will be the establishment of the island’s first artisan village, an initiative being driven by the Tourism Product Development Company, which will accommodate 18 shops along 540 square metres.
The five proposed artisan villages are expected to provide an avenue for Jamaican artists and craft persons to expose and express their creativity, while limiting the volume of imported craft items that are being sold in the industry.
“It is very important for us to build the quality of our craft product and to provide a variety. We must remember that people come to buy Jamaican things, taste Jamaican food and experience Jamaican music. The artisan village therefore, will be a confluence of ‘Jamaicanisms’ that the visitor will know is authentic and opinionated,” said Minister Bartlett.
Other aspects of the Hampden Wharf development include: the extension of the Port connecting the locals with visitors; paved surfaces with mixed textures and defined paths; landscaped areas; storyboards where applicable; adaptive re-use of historic buildings; and a rich mix of retail and local eateries, craft and history.
The TEF and its partners are also in the process of completing other enhancement projects in the town, such as the Falmouth Streetscape Project.
The Minister underscored that work being done in Falmouth will have a central role to play in the Ministry of Tourism’s growth strategy to attract five million visitors and generate US$5 billion in tourism earnings by 2021.