Grange, who was addressing the official launch of the “Mobay Jerk Festival” in the western parish of St. James earlier this week said food tourism could complement the already well-established elements of the tourist experience, including entertainment.
Pointing to research done in 2004, which stated that more than one-third of tourist spending is devoted to food, she noted that the demand for culinary treats has been growing steadily worldwide, and Jamaica’s entry into that market would be a natural one.
“Food is big business, especially in the entertainment and hospitality sectors. In fact, in the last few years, food tourism has grown considerably and has become one of the most dynamic and creative segments of tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization. That means that more and more people are travelling to a destination to experience the food.”
Grange said she is excited about Jamaica’s prospects in the global market, noting that food tourism has the potential to stimulate several other sectors.
“One of the things that get me excited about the potential of food tourism is that it fits into an authentic cultural and entertainment experience – one that can stimulate local, regional and national economic development,” she noted.
She added that the Ministry’s partnership in the staging of the MoBay Jerk Festival is in keeping with the Government’s push to stimulate economic development by using the creativity of the people.
“It is also an investment towards increasing the intrinsic value of our culture and entertainment offerings,” she pointed out.
In addition, she said, Jamaica has a duty to protect the jerk tradition.
“Much like reggae music, we have a duty to ensure that we protect and promote authentic Jamaican jerk. Culinary activities, such as the Montego Bay Jerk Festival, give us an opportunity to market and present Jamaica as the home of authentic jerk food.”
Grange commended the organisers of the jerk festival, who are marketing the event as a major Emancipation/Independence activity.
“I note that you intend for the Montego Bay Jerk Festival to act as the ‘grand gala’ of western Jamaica as we celebrate Jamaica 55.
“This year, the jerk festival takes on a new character, as it will be vital in engaging people in the west of Jamaica to participate in our Emancipation and Independence celebrations. In this regard, the festival will feature a wide range of activities, including cultural events and performances, cook-offs and food stations, a domino tournament, fireworks show and stage show,” she pointed out.
The 2017 staging of the MoBay Jerk Festival takes place at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in the western city of Montego Bay on August 1.
- Countries: Jamaica