Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, says there is every indication that the tourism capital Montego Bay, St. James, should be seeing a huge influx of overseas visitors in the coming weeks.
Minister Bartlett said that while the numbers were always looking good for the summer, the Reggae Sumfest Music Festival, slated for July 16 to 22 [Montego Bay], must take credit for the additional inflow, “as hotels have been reporting increased bookings” as a result.
“Montego Bay will be buzzing, and everyone is excited with what the Festival brings to our shores and the trickle-down effect on businesses all over. After three decades of providing patrons from across the globe with exceptional entertainment, Reggae Sumfest has undoubtedly earned its place as the biggest reggae music festival in the world,” Mr. Bartlett noted.
He said the Ministry also welcomes the fact that the Festival provides opportunities and well-needed support for small and medium tourism enterprises (SMTEs), which benefit tremendously from the positive spinoff effects of major events like Reggae Sumfest.
He added that the Ministry of Tourism remains committed to supporting the sustainable expansion of the local entertainment sector, which “adds substantial value” to Jamaica’s tourism product.
This, Mr. Bartlett added, is evidenced by the long-standing partnership with Reggae Sumfest through the Ministry’s public bodies, namely the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
“Despite disruptions to its annual staging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much like Jamaica’s tourism sector, the Festival has rebounded with a bang. As Minister of Tourism, I am pleased to join Downsound Entertainment and the entire Reggae Sumfest team in celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of Jamaica’s greatest cultural and entertainment events,” the Minister said.
ASTONISHINGLY HIGH NUMBERS
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) is reporting that all their member bodies in and around Montego Bay are reporting astonishingly high numbers due to Reggae Sumfest.
Even non-traditional hotels like Airbnb have gotten in on the act, as rooms are now hard to come by in the coming weeks.
“All the hotels are full. Sumfest looks very positive, everybody is excited,” President of the JHTA, Robin Russell, told reporters recently.
He also confirmed that villas and Airbnb bookings have also reached capacity in the city and immediate surroundings. “I am hearing that villas and Airbnb properties are full as well. We have been referring to villas and Airbnb and from all indications they can’t get a room in the MoBay area and far up the line. It must also be noted that the hotels have already been enjoying a bumper season coming into Sumfest week,” Mr. Russell said, adding that the Festival “has really put the numbers above and beyond.”
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Leeroy Williams, said the tourism capital will be renamed ‘Sumfest City’ for the month of July. “The St. James Municipality will continue to play its part in ensuring that the July 16-22 Festival has yet another successful staging,” the Mayor added.