• Dr. the Hon. Wykeham McNeill, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment,
• The Hon. Roger Clarke, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
• Senator Noel Sloley
• Mrs. Jennifer Griffith, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment
• Mr. Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries
• Mr. Donovan Perkings, Chairmaj of the Toursim Linkages Council
• Members of the Tourism Linkages Council
• Damion Salmon, President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce
• Cliff Reynolds, Chairman of the Negril Resort Board
• Partners in Tourism and Agriculture
The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and in particular the members of our Negril Chapter extend a warm welcome to all of you this morning.
Throughout the fifty two year history, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, has consistently encouraged our membership to support our local agricultural sector. It was almost two years ago that here in Negril a solid partnership for a farmers market began to develop. I remember well that first meeting with members of the RADA Western region..frankly, Ministers, I think we shocked them with our enthusiasm, our instant commitment and indeed the many possibilities that we began to envision together in the interest of both the diversity of our Tourism offerings and the enhancement of our supply of Agricultural produce to the Tourism industry. Indeed I would venture to say that the overwhelming success that the Negril Farmers market has enjoyed is a prime example of the benefits that accrue from simple cooperation between ordinary professionals from two different sectors. We are indeed pleased that through the guidance of the Tourism Linkages Hub and the financial endorsement of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, this fledgling Negril Farmers market is now en route to becoming an integral part of our Negril Tourism product.
Our enthusiasm and commitment continues.. And I am confident that I speak here on behalf of not only the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, but also all business interests and residents who have supported this market consistently. Tourism operates in a fiercely competitive global marketplace and the need to develop new elements of our product is vital. We hope that this Agro Tourism initiative as it grows by leaps and bounds will offer that new attraction hot spot for our visitors, whether from here or abroad to literally and figuratively taste the local culinary scene.
There is no doubt that here in Negril and indeed in the wider Jamaica, Tourism plays a pivotal role and is a key driver of our economy. Negril with its varied accommodation from small to large and our many interesting and diverse restaurants and eateries, has a proud history of visitor and community engagement. Culinary Tourism or Food Tourism.is a vital component of the Tourism experience internationally. Our cuisine is significant element of our strong global brand. We are known for our spices, from jerk seasoning to high end rums, coffee products, liqueurs and beers. We must never forget that our visitors offer a ready market while they are here to expose them to our Jamaican products and create through them export ambassadors for our country. To achieve this, however our industry must always have ready access to the wide range of agricultural produce that our nation produces or are capable of producing. I would like to take this opportunity to particularly thank the RADA team and the many farmers who have remained committed to this market.
We are all in the food business. some of us produce it and the rest of us find others to consumer it. The JHTA congratulates the Tourism Linkages Hub, RADA and indeed all of our other partners here today. May this Agro Tourism initiative, the Negril Farmers Market, and the others to come continue on a mutually beneficial path with the entire Jamaica as the ultimate beneficiary.