KINGSTON, Jamaica, September 18, 2018 (CMC) – Jamaica says it is taking strategic steps to ensure that the island capitalises on its potential and benefits, in a more significant way, from gastronomy tourism.
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the Gastronomy Network, which is spearheading the process, “has been working, assiduously, to craft innovative plans”.
“Their main strategies include: creating a gastronomy mapping platform, with easily accessible information on the island’s best food offerings; collaborating with tourism partners to boost the number of quality food festivals; providing capacity-building support for established gastronomy/food tour operators; and working with tour operators to develop enticing food tours, across the length and breadth of the island,” he noted.
Bartlett said that he remains confident that these efforts will help to position Jamaica as a leading gastronomy destination, and will provide a variety of authentic culinary experiences for visitors.
He noted that with a “mouth-watering cuisine that is second to none”, Jamaica stands to benefit, significantly, from an industry that the World Food Travel Association has estimated to be worth over J$150 billion, annually.
Bartlett also cited information, from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which indicates that over a third of tourist-spending is devoted to food.
“The cuisine of a destination is an aspect of utmost importance in the quality of the holiday experience. Food-related tourism provides an opportunity to stimulate and diversify the tourism sector, as it promotes economic development at the local level and involves a variety of sectors,” he said.
The Tourism Minister said that the Global Food Tourism Report, by Mintel, a specialised company in market research and consumer behaviour, indicates that the main driver for 27.3 million American tourists in choosing their travel destinations, was gastronomic activities.
“So gastronomy tourism provides a massive market, which we must effectively tap into, to increase tourism expenditure and arrivals,” he added.