Entertainment
JM | May 22, 2022

Reggae Sumfest’s open arms welcome

/ Our Today

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Jamaica’s Tourism Minister underscores festival’s importance

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (left) gets a hearty welcome from Joe Bogdanovich, chairman of Downsound Entertainment, on arrival at the Iberostar Hotel on May 19 for the media launch of Reggae Sumfest 2022. Downsound is the promoter of the reggae festival which attracts visitors from all over the world. Bartlett and his colleague, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport Olivia Grange participated in the launch event.

The return of Jamaica’s premier music festival, Reggae Sumfest, to the island’s calendar of events is being welcomed by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.

Pointing out that, “Reggae Sumfest is known to be the greatest reggae show in the world,” Bartlett underscored its importance, arguing that “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”.

Noting that Jamaica is reggae’s birthplace, Bartlett expressed his excitement to be partnering in putting on the event to make sure that more and more people come to the island.

This year, being Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of independence, he is anticipating 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”.

Aiming for bigger and better this year

Sumfest was last held physically in 2019 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but the tourism minister declared, “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”.

Speaking at the festival’s launch last Thursday (May 19) at the Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay, Bartlett pointed out that enquiries about the festival are 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 Nadine Spence, Montego Bay Chapter chairman of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, who said feedback from hotels for the Sumfest period indicated that “bookings are steady and surpass the same period last year”.

The festival is being supported by the Ministry of Tourism through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Jamaica Tourist Board with the expectation of it boosting visitor arrivals during its staging at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay from July 18 to 23.

COMMITMENT TO ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Bartlett used the launch of Reggae Sumfest 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 J$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.

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