KINGSTON, JAMAICA -Developing cottage industries to develop coffee by-products, such as beverages, is one strategy that Jamaica can use to attract more tourists, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.
Minister Bartlett said that Jamaica is well-positioned as a producer of some of the world’s finest coffee to tantalise the taste buds of visitors seeking a satisfying gastronomic experience on the island.
In his view, coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world, with 1.2 billion cups drunk daily, and Jamaica can fill some of this demand.
“It is possible… for us to develop… cottage industries around coffee, and we can bring in the players from all over the world in the same way that foodies travel all over the world [for this experience],” he said.
In his remarks, he pointed out that the government is ready to invest in building Jamaica’s capacity for high-quality coffee experiences.
The minister was addressing the launch of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival at the Jamaica Food and Drink Kitchen located at Progressive Plaza on Barbican Road in St Andrew on Tuesday, March 2.
Minister Bartlett said that the annual festival serves as a gateway to utilise gastronomy tourism “to bring the world” to the island. He noted that 42 percent of the expenditure of visitors globally is in food and drink.
“We want to bring coffee aficionados to Jamaica and that’s… the whole idea of having this festival…We want to market that, we want to open destinations with that as a drawing card,” he pointed out.
In his remarks, Pearnel Charles Jr., minister of agriculture and fisheries, pointed out the ministry’s commitment to the development of coffee.
“The ministry, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Authority (JACRA)…we are going to make sure that we do what is necessary to give support to our farmers,” he noted.
The Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival is a flagship event of the ministry of tourism whose aim is to leverage gastronomy tourism as a tool for diversifying Jamaican tourism.
Throughout the month of March, festival activities will be held to highlight Blue Mountain Coffee and coffee-related products, bringing together local and international coffee connoisseurs, coffee suppliers, foodies, and other interested parties.
The events will include farm tours, virtual workshops, a ‘sip and shop’, and promotion of the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail.
The festival culminates with a Festival Marketplace on the lawns of Devon House on April 2.
In coordination with the ministries of industry, investment and commerce, and agriculture and fisheries, the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival is organized by the Tourism Linkages Network, a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
A primary goal of the project is to foster relationships between stakeholders in the coffee industry, the private sector, and local businesses in the Blue Mountains and strengthen links between agriculture and tourism.