Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has welcomed the return of Jamaica’s premier music festival, Reggae Sumfest to the island’s calendar of events.
Underscoring its importance, Minister Bartlett said: “Events, festivals, exhibitions, meetings and conventions are huge traffic builders; they are drivers of visitors to destinations and so we encourage and support events of this nature.” He pointed out that “Reggae Sumfest is known to be the greatest reggae show in the world. Jamaica is its birthplace, so we are excited to be partners in this to make sure that more and more people come to us.”
This year being Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of independence, he anticipated that “our Diaspora is going to be here in great numbers but we’re also using the opportunity to open new markets and the good news is that with the Emirates now selling seats to Jamaica we’ll be able to get people from Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and so on to come to us through some North American gateways for Reggae Sumfest and other events later down the road.”
Speaking at the launch of Reggae Sumfest 2022 at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay on May 19, Minister Bartlett said the festival was being supported by the Ministry of Tourism through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), with the expectation of it boosting visitor arrivals during its staging at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay from July 18 to 23.
Sumfest was last held physically in 2019 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re very happy to be associated with it again this year; the recovery is critical and in recovering we want to do it better and bigger,” said Mr. Bartlett who noted that enquiries were being received from as far as the Middle East.
He said bookings for the months of June and July were very good and this was supported by Montego Bay Chapter Chairman of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Nadine Spence, who said feedback from hotels for the Sumfest period indicated that “bookings are steady and surpass the same period last year.”
Minister Bartlett used the occasion to reinforce the Government’s commitment to the entertainment industry, pointing out that plans were being pursued for the development of a Tourism Entertainment Academy adjacent to the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
He stressed that $50 million had already been earmarked by the TEF to get it started and on completion the facility will be marketed as an attraction for visitors to experience Jamaica’s authentic high quality cultural offerings. Programmes developed for the Academy are expected to increase employment opportunities for professionally trained and skilled artistes.