There is a world of possibilities for South Coast Tourism in Jamaica and it is this belief that sees Stephanie Gyles Elliott pushing for its revival.
In a one on one with dobusinessjamaica.com, she said in spite of the many setbacks she has had with her marque event South Coast Rum, Food and Music Festival, she is determined to allow tourists an opportunity to witness the beauty and culture of the South Coast.
Her love for the region has seen her sitting on the board of the Milk River Hotel Bath and Spa seeking to woo some of the tourism spending power to Clarendon’s shore.
The ‘South Coast’ includes Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth which have a number of amazing attractions– the Appleton Estate Tour, Bubbling Spring Mineral Bath in St Elizabeth, Milk River Bath in Clarendon, and the Bloomfield Great House – just to name a few great attractions.
It is Elliott’s desire to add the Festival to the list of adventures that will see visitors being drawn to this side of the island.
“The festival is aimed at capitalizing on the vast untapped tourism potential that can generate economic growth, build communities and provide opportunities for both visitors and residents,” Elliot said of the summer event which she added that it received a boost last year with endorsement from the Tourism Ministry.
“Studies have consistently shown that heritage travelers stay longer and spend more money than other kinds of travelers. Investing in the development of South Coast Tourism projects will increase tourism related activities, like eco-tourism/agro tourism. More visitors mean greater turnover and better business for southern Jamaican based businesses,” said Elliot.
Highlighting the strengths of the South Coast, she said it is an easy sell for tourists who love the type of serenity the south has to offer.
“Jamaica welcomes over one million visitors each year and over the last five years it is widely acknowledged that the culture heritage tourism segment has been increasing at a rate higher than the growth of tourism worldwide and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future,” she said adding that this fact has given her the confidence to push ahead with the event.
Elliot, who is passionate about the offerings of the South Coast, is urging stakeholders to open their eyes to what can be- perfect for generating jobs and driving a vibrant economy for residents.
“Further developing south coast’s heritage tourism will generate much needed foreign exchange for the community and our economy. A stronger economy allows community residents to maintain and protect their historic environment and preserve their cultural resources.
“It will also strengthen the number and quality of local jobs that will benefit both genders. They will be working together to preserve their cultural heritage while developing a sustainable local economy,” she said.
Why not… the South Coast?