MONTEGO BAY: Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has announced plans to begin repairs at craft markets in Montego Bay.
Dr. McNeill made the announcement following a tour of several craft markets and other tourism projects last week. The tour was held to examine the current condition of the markets and to determine steps to address challenges hampering their operations.
McNeill was accompanied by Damion Crawford, State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment; Councillor Glendon Harris, Mayor of Montego Bay; representatives from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and other government officials.
During his tour, McNeil reassured traders that the government was committed to revitalizing the craft sector and took note of their suggestions and concerns on how to improve the markets.
Among the concerns raised by the traders was that very few cruise ship passengers visited the craft markets resulting in poor sales.
McNeil said the problems would be addressed immediately.
“We will have some discussions with the Port Authority to see how we can facilitate the marketing of craft markets in order to increase the volume of the people that visit the markets. However, in the interim there are some small things that will be done to deal with issues unique to each.
“For example, there are some issues at Harbour Street with leaking roofs and it has been going on like this for some time although $16 million was spent in 2009 to fix them. I have indicated that this work should be made good immediately,” said McNeil.
The repairs which are to be made to the craft markets will be undertaken by TPDCo in collaboration with TEF.
McNeill also charged the vendors to attend meetings of the newly re-established resort board and use this platform to have their voices heard and their needs addressed. He said the board will allow various stakeholders to work together in partnership to ensure the success of the tourism sector.